British Airways now expects to see its first Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10 jetliners from 2019, but says that not all of those will include a first class cabin.
“We are definitely committed to our first class product, and definitely some of those aircraft will have first class” British Airways CEO Alex Cruz told Australian Business Traveller during the airline’s launch of its new Club World meal service.
“Are we committing to first class on every one of the new aircraft? That may be the case,” Cruz allowed, hinting at the possibility of two configurations of the next-gen jets: one for premium-heavy routes where first class retains high appeal and a second for routes where the aircraft tops out at business class.
“We are going through the process of right-sizing first class” Cruz added. “None of those (aircraft) will have a large number of first class seats.”
“The Boeing 787-9 appears to have a good combination of cabins, but we will continue to right-size the size of the first class cabin in the years to come.”
Cruz said that BA is also looking at the evolution of its first class suites, amid concerns that an all-new Club World business class could put pressure on first class.
“I admit that if we come up with a really good Club World seat, together with the sort of proposition we have shown today, it is going to put pressure on First… I recognise that we will have to think about what the future of First is , but it’s not a project right now.”
“I think we are able to have some time, let’s see what the final picture of the Club World proposition is.”