British Airways has decided to keep its sprawling 114,000 square metre headquarters on the north-west corner of Heathrow Airport in West London after recalling thousands of employees back to the office following the end of a pandemic-era ‘work from home’ edict.
The airline shuttered its Waterside HQ in July 2020 after the majority of the 4,000 workers who would normally work in the building were sent home at the start of the first pandemic lockdown several months earlier.
Completed in 1998, the £200 million head office features 14 buildings built around a 175 metre-long indoor street lined with cafes, shops and BA’s very own museum.
British Airways almost completely mothballed its head office estate for six months at the height of the pandemic, although a skeleton staff working in BA’s 24-hour operational command centre continued to use the building.
In March 2021, British Airways appointed a specialist property company to assess the possibility of selling the Neils Torp-designed HQ, with the airline saying at the time that it was surprised at how well employees had adapted to working from home.
A spokesperson said the pandemic had “accelerated our approach to offering more agile and flexible ways of working” and, as a result, it might not be necessary to have such a large head office in the future.
But rather than downsizing, British Airways has now confirmed it will be keeping its Waterside head office with a significant investment focused on sustainability expected soon.
British Airways had forecast a much smaller aviation industry for many years as a result of the pandemic, but airlines are reporting bumper profits as passengers flock back to flying.
Economic worries have so far shown no sign of denting the demand for travel and carriers are still racing to build back capacity to meet passenger demand.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.