BA has plans for short-haul carrier

British Airways is developing a short-haul airline brand with Interbrand, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

The airline also appointed brand and business strategy consultancy The Ingram Partnership this month to handle a separate project that is complementary to Interbrand’s work. Both consultancies sit on BA’s roster of marketing, advertising and design agencies.

BA’s head of design management, Mike Crump, declines to comment on the short-haul project, but confirms that Interbrand and Ingram Partnership are working with the airline. ‘We work with a number of suppliers on a number of projects, not all of which go to launch,’ he says.

BA is expected to review its European short-haul operations under the hand of incoming chief executive Willie Walsh, whose appointment from Aer Lingus was confirmed earlier this month. Changes to the business model come in response to fierce competition in the sector from low-cost operators, such as Easyjet and Ryanair.

It is thought that BA is considering the launch of a dedicated short-haul brand, which will not compete directly with the budget operators on cost. A mid-tier offering may be one option.

BA is on record saying that it will be investing in its short-haul product this year, although details and launch schedules are scant. At Aer Lingus, Walsh successfully turned the company’s short-haul services into a profit making division – the only European flag carrier to do so.

From 2008, BA will relocate all its flights at Heathrow Airport to the new Richard Rogers Partnership-designed Terminal 5 building.

Interbrand declined to comment on its work with BA.

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