First, there was the Terminal Five fiasco, which saw Walsh forced to publicly admit the airline had ‘disappointed many people’. “[It] was not British Airways’ finest hour,” he said in a statement. “I take responsibility for what happened. The buck stops with me.”
Next came the spiralling fuel costs which lead to the formation of a partnership between BA, Spanish airline Iberia and American Airlines – shortly after which the company’s main rival, Virgin, gleefully hammered another nail into BA’s coffin by announcing it had doubled its own profits.
Walsh was then forced to stoop to asking his staff to ‘volunteer’ to work for free for up to four weeks. “I am looking for every single part of the company to take part in some way,” he wrote in the company’s internal newsletter – which lead to a collective shuffling of feet and mumbling of excuses from workers.
Finally comes today’s announcement that the airline will charge customers between £10 and £60 to reserve a seat in advance.
With rivalry from budget airlines hotting up, it looks as though Walsh has resorted to measures which can only be described as O’Leary-esque in order to compete. Whether the measures will work or not is still to be seen – but Smarta doesn’t give it too long before we hear adverts during take-off.