Breakfast with Alex Cruz 25/04/18

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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:21 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
A thoroughly enjoyable morning, and it was great to put a few faces to FT handles. For those I didn't meet, I shall repeat what I said earlier today - "I don't do buses"

AC spoke very well, and came across as a very intelligent chap with an excellent sense of humour. He knows where the problems are within the airline, and did his best to address the crowd - he gave 30mins for a Q&A after his presentation which was great.

I should also add that he stayed around afterwards to address a queue of around 10 people. I think he earned the respect of many doubters today, and while some may not agree with him, I personally left with the impression that he knows what needs to be done.

Amongst some of what he said:

1. The First Wing has proven very successful, and will be rolled out to T3 and JFK.

2. The 747s will remain in the fleet until around 2024, hence the major refurbishment program.

WiFi has proven to be so useful, "that a few days ago, 112 Netflix accounts where running concurrently at one point across the WiFi enabled fleet".

3. 5-10 A350-1000s will be coming into the fleet in 2019. These will be fitted with the new CW seat.

The current delays, are due to the seat manufacturing process, but "nobody will ever see a meal thrust across them" ; a reference to the way CW window passengers are currently served.

AC admitted that the current 2-4-2 layout is no longer competitive, going so far to say that it was ground-breaking when it was shown off 23 years ago..."but the bad news is that we still have it".

4. BA is committed to hiring 3,500-4,500 new staff per annum.

5. The Concorde Team will liaise with Concorde Cardholders to ensure you always have the same point of contact. This sounded like a move away from the GGL team that we currently call.

6. BA are wholly committed to First Class. It will remain, but fewer seats will be fitted to new aircraft.

The A350-1000 will feature a modified version of the 789 F seat, which AC accepted had a few small niggles (Phase 1).

A new F concept, will be worked on to see what F really means to people. This is a medium-long term project (Phase 2), and we should not expect a new F seat, until all aircraft are fitted with the new CW seat.

While BA would like to do more on the ground for F passengers, like "services offered in Doha and Dubai", they are "constrained and limited by what HAL allow".

7. Additional Jaguars, there are 6 at present, are to be ordered for those on tight connections.

8. FT got a mention, along with the phrase "many feel that BA F is comparable to QR J"...but it wasn't from me! AC gave a pretty frank answer, linked to finances, but also agreed that BA needed to do more to remain Premium.

9. The Pilot Assistance Network is a BA initiative to offer mental support for BA staff. I found this really interesting, and massive kudos to BA for launching such an initiative.

M
Thanks M really interesting
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:26 am
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Thanks MSM for summary. Was there any specific discussion of LHR-TLV route given the venue? I appreciate that may not have been the point of the PR exercise.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:27 am
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Great insights - thanks.It'll be interesting to see BA's take on pilot assistance. It's going to be an increasing issue in the next couple of years.

All the commercial stuff sounds reasonably sensible although it doesn't sound like AC was pressed much on the SH product. Focus sounded like it was more on longhaul, where to my mind, despite the regular comparisons with ME carriers, BA still have a brand and a product that carries weight.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:38 am
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Originally Posted by NoTiersForMe View Post
Thanks MSM for summary. Was there any specific discussion of LHR-TLV route given the venue? I appreciate that may not have been the point of the PR exercise.
There wasn't, but AC did speak a lot about the Israeli start-ups he is working with, and the Hangar 51 incubator program.

M
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:39 am
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Originally Posted by Pascoe View Post
Great insights - thanks.It'll be interesting to see BA's take on pilot assistance. It's going to be an increasing issue in the next couple of years.

All the commercial stuff sounds reasonably sensible although it doesn't sound like AC was pressed much on the SH product. Focus sounded like it was more on longhaul, where to my mind, despite the regular comparisons with ME carriers, BA still have a brand and a product that carries weight.
The event wasn't a Q&A to force AC to answer awkward questions, but he did say that WiFi on the short-haul aircraft will be tested over summer, to launch fully in the winter.

He also said the 2nd of the A320 Neos is being delivered today.

M
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:46 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
He knows where the problems are within the airline, and did his best to address the crowd - he gave 30mins for a Q&A after his presentation which was great.

I should also add that he stayed around afterwards to address a queue of around 10 people. I think he earned the respect of many doubters today, and while some may not agree with him, I personally left with the impression that he knows what needs to be done.
Many thanks for your detailed report!

I should hope he does know the problems and what needs to be done. He is the chief and it's under his watch most problems have arisen / worsened
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:47 am
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@msm2000uk has provided an excellent summary. Would be interested who the other 2 gentlemen were from on here that I was speaking to with him?

I think i did expect more focus in his presentation on the tech/ digital/ Israel aspect, which was not explored. Although I did enjoy when he called himself a “Technophobe” instead of a “Technophile”.

To be fair, this could be that current and prospective linkups with any Israeli startups through the Hangar 51 programme and beyond are probably subject to some degree of NDA or commercial sensitivity.

I think the crowd was very graciously British in that I expected there to be more of a grilling, given many of the audience will have been frequent flyers. However as @msm2000uk alluded to, Alex’s relaxed and open style probably helped to allay any negativity people may have had coming into the room.

All in all, an enjoyable event.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 3:55 am
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Given the fanfare that came with its introduction, I'm curious if anyone asked him about the new CW food service and how that's going, along with the roll-out of the new bedding, and how in the world that is taking so long (doesn't bode well for the roll-out of a new CW seat)?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by cosmo74 View Post
Given the fanfare that came with its introduction, I'm curious if anyone asked him about the new CW food service and how that's going, along with the roll-out of the new bedding, and how in the world that is taking so long (doesn't bode well for the roll-out of a new CW seat)?
There weren't any about the CW rollout, other than the new seat discussion, but he did say he had to force the BA board to give him £400m in 2016, and yet they have now committed £4.5bn!

I think by saying he will fit 5-10 aircraft next year, the sense of a reasonable fitting period was visible.

M
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Old Apr 25, 18, 4:07 am
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Said all the right things, but believe it when I see it especially, the new CW seat, which would bring me back to BA from QR/CX/AA.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 4:40 am
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Originally Posted by A406toHeathrow View Post
@msm2000uk has provided an excellent summary. Would be interested who the other 2 gentlemen were from on here that I was speaking to with him?

I think i did expect more focus in his presentation on the tech/ digital/ Israel aspect, which was not explored. Although I did enjoy when he called himself a “Technophobe” instead of a “Technophile”.

To be fair, this could be that current and prospective linkups with any Israeli startups through the Hangar 51 programme and beyond are probably subject to some degree of NDA or commercial sensitivity.

I think the crowd was very graciously British in that I expected there to be more of a grilling, given many of the audience will have been frequent flyers. However as @msm2000uk alluded to, Alex’s relaxed and open style probably helped to allay any negativity people may have had coming into the room.

All in all, an enjoyable event.
One was @seaskybound who works in a really interesting industry, and the other was a colleague of his (not an FTer).

M
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Old Apr 25, 18, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
There weren't any about the CW rollout, other than the new seat discussion, but he did say he had to force the BA board to give him £400m in 2016, and yet they have now committed £4.5bn!

I think by saying he will fit 5-10 aircraft next year, the sense of a reasonable fitting period was visible.

M
Just for clarity, he did say the £4.5 bn was in the context of overall investment including replacement and new aircraft deliveries as well as hard and soft product - don't want to get people over excited that BA are planning a £4.5bn investment in CW seats!

It's worth saying to @cosmo74 that it has been broadly publicised that the new CW seat is anticipated to be seen on the A350 - therefore meaning any roll-out timeline is much firmer than a soft product launch such as catering or bedding
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:00 am
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Originally Posted by A406toHeathrow View Post
It's worth saying to @cosmo74 that it has been broadly publicised that the new CW seat is anticipated to be seen on the A350 - therefore meaning any roll-out timeline is much firmer than a soft product launch such as catering or bedding
It does say above that they will look at a new F seat, once all aircraft are fitted with the new CW seat - which implies that all aircraft will get the new CW. Saying that 5-10 new A350's will be delivered in 2019 with the new seats doesn't really give any indication when the roll-out across the rest of the fleet will take place, or how long that will take though. I would imagine that process is far slightly complex than introducing some new blankets and pillows, but the time that it is taking to do this implies we have a long wait ahead of us. It would be great to know if anyone is aware of the timescale for the fleet-wide roll out of the new CW seat though...
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:09 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
A thoroughly enjoyable morning, and it was great to put a few faces to FT handles. For those I didn't meet, I shall repeat what I said earlier today - "I don't do buses"
And the (new) furniture in the CCR is........

Perfect summary of his talk!
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:24 am
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Nothing regarding short haul, such as Club Europe, msm2000uk?
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