Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Waterside headquarters of British Airways at the moment. The airline is facing its first mass walkout by pilots in 40 years in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and conditions – events to celebrate its centenary have been curtailed as the fallout of its crisis-hit response to the threatened strike continues.
But as unlikely as it seems given whats going on at this iconic but troubled airline at the moment, British Airways has actually invited a documentary crew to record the inner workings of its business. The documentary is due to air on British television in early September and has been aptly named ‘British Airways 24/7: Access all Areas’.
The question is, will this really be access all areas? Well, that remains to be seen, although it’s safe to say that it’s unlikely the documentary is going to steer too far from the course that the airline wanted it to follow. Instead, it looks like it’s going to follow some nice feel-good stories like buying new aircraft, refitting older aircraft and other investments that the airline has been rolling out this year.
The series was filmed over a nine-month period and follows BA employees as they launch a new route to Osaka, take delivery of new aircraft at an Airbus facility in Toulouse and visit Seattle where BA is working with Boeing on the spec for its new 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft.
The documentary will also look at BA’s new partnership with catering business DO&CO and follows a visit of Her Majesty The Queen to celebrate the airline’s landmark birthday.
So far, nothing about an industrial relations dispute that has dogged the airline all year. Or several IT meltdowns that have wreaked havoc on travel plans for thousands of passengers. Or for that matter, the record-breaking fine imposed by regulators for a huge data breach last year.
At the very least, the press release from British Airways has ended speculation that Alex Cruz, the carrier’s embattled chief executive had been forced to step down (rumours of which have been doing the rounds all week). Commenting on the documentary, Cruz said:
“The series opens the doors of our aircraft, engineering hangars and even boardroom, like never before, giving viewers a rare insight into the drive for transformation that informs everything we do, the investments we’re making for our customers and, most importantly, shines a light on the people who work day and night to keep our hugely complex global operation running, to bring Britain to the world and the world to Britain.”
The series will initially only be available on Channel 5 in the UK but British Airways has released two teaser clips…
The first episode in the documentary will air at 9pm on 5th September and is being broadcast on Channel 5.