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Senior Managers at British Airways Will ‘Sponsor a Flight’ After On-Time Arrival Rate Plummets to Just 51%

Senior Managers at British Airways Will ‘Sponsor a Flight’ After On-Time Arrival Rate Plummets to Just 51%

Senior managers at British Airways are being hauled out of their plush offices and onto the front lines at Heathrow Airport, where they will each ‘sponsor’ one flight per day for the rest of April in a bid to see why the airline can’t seem to get flights departing on time.

The initiative has been launched after it was revealed that the embattled airline’s on-time arrival rate for March plummeted to just 51.9 per cent, according to data supplied by aviation analytics firm OAG.


BA’s on-time arrival rate fell by 18 points between February and March, despite a renewed focus to improve the airline’s appalling punctuality by new chief operating officer René de Groot who was parachuted in from Dutch rival KLM more than six months ago.

De Groot has now ordered senior executives and other well-paid managers to take action on the ground and see with their own eyes why so many flights are departing and arriving late.

In a memo, de Groot said the sponsorship initiative would give leaders the opportunity to listen to weary frontline staff about the pressures they are facing day in and day out. It’s hoped the initiative will “help unlock ways to make improvements,” the memo continued.

The latest idea was announced after an employee raffle and prize giveaway had only limited success in improving BA’s woeful punctuality.

The airline had promised a pair of free confirmed Business Class tickets to one lucky winner for every day over the Easter Holidays that punctuality targets were achieved, but during the initial 14 days of the giveaway, only five grand prizes were won.

The giveaway has, however, been extended for the rest of April, and the raffle will be held for every day that BA achieves its so-called D15 target (the percentage of flights that depart within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time).

British Airways currently has a D15 target of just 67 per cent.

In a comparison of the world’s international airlines, British Airways was the 120th most on-time airline in March based on OAG’s data sources. The airline was beaten by easyJet, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic.

British Airways has blamed a slew of factors outside of its control for its poor performance, including inclement weather, French air traffic control strikes and a strike by security workers at its Heathrow hub.

View Comments (3)
  • BA does not tell the truth. Yes, security might be an issue, and other outside ops forces, but then other airlines would face the same hurdles, and they are not.

    How about paying BA staff a proper living wage, so people will take a job at BA. I recall waiting 3 hours for a flight to depart at LHR because of limited staff. There was literally ONE ramper for several flights.

    Our 2115 flight, departed after midnight.

  • The fact that they can’t understand the issue shows how completely out of touch they are. A big part of the problem is the arrival process which then results in the aircraft not being available on time. Almost every flight I take ends up waiting for a stand and then waiting for someone to operate the stand guidance.

    Yet you don’t have the same issues with other airlines. Add to a lot of broken seats that take time for the gate staff to sort out, a mess of a boarding process, and a general lack of staff and there’s your big picture. BA managers need to wake up and start understanding the basic concepts of why not having enough staff doesn’t work. They are losing their top loyalty customers and their customer satisfaction scores are poor. Yet they seem mystified as to why!

    • Hi Michele. Perhaps you could carry a story on this yourself? You might like to include the
      utterly ridiculous new working position system for cabin crew (revised again this week) which
      further removes any real impact experience and continuity might have on the worsening
      conditions at the airline. A Better BA is a fantasy, a lovely fantasy albeit, way up in Sean’s office
      but that airline is falling apart and now even more so as uninformed middle management get their
      hands on things,.

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