BA has shown that redefining the vision, and making sure it is successfully carried out throughout the organization, are keys to corporate success. As competitors became aware that service mattered and geared their processes to suit, British Airways has leapt forward again, now defining its target as being the 'undisputed leader in world travel'. This mission is, of course, wider than being merely an airline with good customer relations and service. Although with the inherent danger of being too widely defined, it is suited to an age when the face of travel is changing dramatically. Already, competition has seen airfares come down, but this has not eased competitive pressures within the air travel industry. Airlines are seeing less and less profit per person, leading to a necessity to find new ventures and hold on to existing customers through loyalty programmes. British Airways' new mission provides its management with a new mandate to be more than just an airline. In its words: 'British Airways is aiming to set new industry standards in customer service and innovation, deliver the best financial performance and evolve from being an airline to a world travel business with the flexibility to stretch its brand in new business areas.' Whether BA will branch into virtual travel is a moot point, but innovation is certainly one of the main strategies at the airline. Innovation in terms of reliable electronic bookings, new schedules, more comfortable seats, new customer loyalty programmes and new services in lounges may be more realistic expectations in the immediate term. Short-term goals will include diversification. This was hinted at by British Airways' CEO Bob Ayling: 'We cannot afford to stand still. We have to maintain our lead through even greater innovation, so we offer outstanding products and a quality of service that people will alter their travel plans to enjoy.' From an investor relations' standpoint, the new mission presents a new confidence within BA that can only be beneficial. Further, it is the signal that BA's business efficiency programme from last September and its recently conducted research about the future of world travel were not one-offs, but part of a greater vision for the new millennium.
“To be the undisputed leader in world travel”
With a goal of the becoming the world's leading global premium airline, British Airways will continue to focus on customer service at every level of a passenger's journey. The overall goal is divided into three areas: Global (appeal to all passengers, whether for leisure or business travel in order to create repeat customers); Premium (ensure that passengers receive the highest quality of service where ever they encounter the airline); and Airline (maintain the focus on aviation with the latest equipment, products and services).
British Airways provides five strategic goals: Airline of Choice (remain the top choice for international flights for premium customers as well as cargo, economy and shorter flights);…