Posts

Luis Gallego to succeed retiring Willie Walsh as CEO of IAG in March

International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced that Willie Walsh has decided to retire as chief executive. He will stand down from the role and from the Board of IAG on 26 March 2020 and will retire on 30 June 2020. Luis Gallego, currently Iberia chief executive, will succeed Walsh.

Antonio Vázquez, IAG chairman, said:

Willie has led the merger and successful integration of British Airways and Iberia to form IAG.  Under Willie’s leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.

Willie has been the main driver of this unique idea that is IAG. I hugely admire his commitment, strong leadership and clear vision, always ready to take on whatever challenges lay ahead of him. I am deeply respectful of what he has achieved as CEO of this Group, of his sense of fairness, his transparency and his capacity to integrate people regardless of nationalities or backgrounds.

Willie has established a strong management team and I am delighted that Luis will be promoted from this team to succeed Willie as CEO. The Board is confident that Luis is the right person to lead IAG in the next stage of its development and we look forward to working closely with Luis in his new role.

Willie Walsh said:

It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG. I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG. Luis has been a core member of the team and has shown true leadership over the years and I have no doubt he will be a great CEO of IAG.

Luis Gallego has been CEO of Iberia since March 2013 and Chairman of the airline since 2014. He will take over as CEO of IAG in March 2020.

Luis Gallego said:

It has been a great pleasure to work with Willie over the last seven years. It is a huge honour to lead this great company. It is an exciting time at IAG and I am confident that we can build on the strong foundations created by Willie.

IAG has not yet named Gallego’s successor at Iberia.

If you need to book flights on any of IAG’s airlines – Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL or Vueling – contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways trials robots to guide passengers through the airport

British Airways has announced that from this year it will trial AI-powered autonomous robots at its home at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help customers navigate through the airport, freeing up the airlines’ hosts to help customers with more complex queries.

The cutting-edge robots from tech company BotsAndUs are programmed to interact with passengers  in multiple different languages using the latest translation technology to answer thousands of questions, including real-time flight information.


British Airways has announced it will trial state-of-the-art, fully autonomous robots in 2020.

Additionally, using geo-location technology and dozens of advanced sensors to constantly monitor a 360˚radius, the robots will move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations.

To complement its investment in technology and automation, last year British Airways launched a multi-million pound investment in enhanced training for colleagues as part of its First Contact Resolution Programme at Heathrow. The programme empowers customer service agents to use their expertise, initiative and judgement to solve customer queries on the spot using a suite of specialised apps on iPads.

Ricardo Vidal, British Airways’ Head of Innovation, says the combination of automation and personalised customer service will define the airport of the future:

We are always looking for new and innovative ways to use automation to help our customers enjoy a faster and smoother journey through the airport and beyond. These smart robots are the latest innovation allowing us to free up our people to deal with immediate issues and offer that one-on-one service we know our customers appreciate. In the future, I envisage a fleet of robots working side-by-side with our people offering a truly seamless travel experience.

Andrei Danescu, Founder of BotsAndUs, added:

We are very excited to partner with British Airways. The trial will pave the way for other new and interesting services we can provide to improve the customer journey as we work together to re-imagine the airport experience.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you need to fly on British Airways.

British Airways reunites family for a very special occasion

As its centenary year drew to a close, British Airways waved its magic wand for the 100th time to take a very deserving customer on the trip of a lifetime to Australia to surprise her uncle on his wedding day.

Cheryl Lawley, 36 from Nuneaton, contacted the airline in early 2019 to share her story. In 2016 Cheryl was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer and after undergoing a 14-hour operation, Cheryl woke to find her uncle, Ben, unexpectedly by her bedside. Ben had travelled from his home in Melbourne, Australia, to nurse Cheryl and help care for her three children, aged 16, 10 and 9.

After returning to Melbourne, Ben announced that he was engaged to marry his partner of 14 years, Andrew, but given Cheryl’s circumstances she would be unable to attend. Until BA Magic stepped in!

British Airways organised for Cheryl, her partner Adrian, 31, and children Mia, Ashdon and Carson to fly to Melbourne, with lots of surprises and adventure along the way.

Departing from Heathrow Terminal 5, Cheryl was given the VIP treatment with a Heathrow Personal Shopping experience and Elemis spa treatments in preparation for the wedding, before the family embarked on their 22-hour journey to Australia in the comfort of British Airways’ business cabin, Club World.

When they arrived, the family were gifted with a suite at The Langham Melbourne, which has been named as the number one hotel in Australia. 

On the day of the wedding, Melbourne’s leading hair and make-up artist, Jemma, was on hand to pamper Cheryl before she went to surprise her uncle as he got ready for his wedding.

Cheryl said:

When I wrote to BA Magic to ask for help in getting me to Australia so I could be there for my uncle on his important day as he was for mine, I didn’t expect such an unforgettable adventure. British Airways has helped create memories for us as a family that we will always cherish and be grateful for.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

Cheryl’s story touched our hearts, so we wanted to do everything possible to help surprise her uncle on his big day. Throughout 2019, to say thank you to our customers, we committed to 100 acts of kindness and this marks our 100th act. We are delighted we could end the year making this special trip unforgettable for such a deserving family.

Helping to surprise Cheryl’s uncle on his big day was part of the airline’s commitment to mark its centenary year with 100 acts of kindness as part of its #BAMagic100 campaign. Following its launch in 2017, the campaign saw the airline arranging surprise proposals, reuniting loved ones, arranging money-can’t-buy experiences and creating holidays of a lifetime.

If you want to book a flight on British Airways, please contact your GTM Account Manager; and if you would like to take advantage of Heathrow’s Personal Shopper Service, please click here:
https://boutique.heathrow.com/en/contact/personal-shopper.

British Airways invests millions on reimagined and improved menus on flights from Gatwick

British Airways has made a multi-million pound investment in its catering on flights from London Gatwick, with “reimagined and improved” food across its short- and long-haul cabins.

Now available on all flights, the catering brings in new menus featuring new dishes and recipes as part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. The new food has a focus on provenance with the provider, Newrest, working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients.

Customers can enjoy the benefits across all long-haul cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business) and First – as well as Club Europe (business) on short-haul. 

A range of Marks & Spencer products continues to be on offer to Euro Traveller customers.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

This is the latest development in continuously improving our catering. We’re incredibly proud of this new offering, and we hope our customers enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. So it’s great to see an improved selection of great, locally-sourced food being served on routes from London’s second airport.

As part of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has refreshed its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick. So, as well as Panasonic in-flight entertainment on 10″ (World Traveller) and 12″ (World Traveller Plus) screens, offering more choice of movies, television and audio programmes, British Airways passengers now have choices from superbly-improved menus.

If you’re flying on business from London Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways rolls out First Contact Resolution Programme worldwide

British Airways is rolling out its First Contact Resolution Programme across every airport it operates to, following its successful launch at Heathrow last year.



British Airways is extending its First Contact Resolution programme to colleagues around the world following a successful roll out at Heathrow

First Contact Resolution empowers airport hosts to use their expertise, initiative and judgement to solve customer queries on the spot, without waiting for management approval. This allows them to provide instant solutions and peace of mind for customers and send fewer issues to Customer Relations colleagues. 

All staff worldwide are now being further empowered to use their skills and initiative to do the right thing for any customer at that moment.

Sumer Adlakha, British Airways’ Customer Service Manager in Delhi, Mumbai & Maldives said:  

The new approach has been welcomed by the whole of our airport team and our customers. It gives us the ability to own and resolve a problem without having to ask customers to call or email our Customer Relations team which is time-consuming for them. They’ve told us they love that our agents are using their own knowledge and skills to resolve issues and particularly enjoy the personal touch we are able to give in each situation.

Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Head of Airport Operations said: 

We’ve seen a fantastic response to the First Contact Resolution programme at Heathrow, which is about going back to basics and emphasising the age-old concept of ‘treating others as you would want to be treated’.  The roll out worldwide will provide consistency for our customers, giving everyone the unique and personal attention that they deserve, wherever they are in the world.



First Contact Resolution enables staff to assist and resolve any customer issue at the airport rather than refer travellers to Customer Relations teams

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

From time to time, travel plans go wrong. GTM is always on hand to help if plans need to be changed at the last minute. But sometimes passengers need the kind of immediate assistance that can only be provided at the airport. So it’s great that passengers know they can rely on the knowledge and skills of British Airways staff and that First Contact Resolution is being rolled out, worldwide.

The roll out of First Contact Resolution is a part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment in customer experience over five years. This includes taking delivery of 73 new aircraft including A350s and 787s, refurbishing long-haul aircraft with new cabins, introducing new, redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits for First, Club World and World Traveller Plus, best quality on-board WiFi for every aircraft and access to power at every aircraft seat.

The next time you need to fly on British Airways, contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways has become the first airline to use next-generation AI and video technology to improve punctuality

British Airways has introduced advanced neural networks, known as artificial intelligence, to its airside operation at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help its people ensure every flight departs safely and on time.

Currently, when customers disembark an aircraft, British Airways’ ground staff manually check and record the details of eighteen different activities that need to be completed before the plane can depart for its next flight – including thorough cleaning of the aircraft interiors, unloading and reloading of catering, luggage and cargo and refuelling. An issue affecting just one of these tasks has the potential to disrupt the entire process and delay the flight’s departure.


Customers flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 can expect a faster getaway as British Airways employs latest artificial intelligence and wearable tech for staff preparing aircraft to depart

Now, using a network of cameras set up around the aircraft stand by technology start-up Assaia, artificial intelligence is employed to compare live footage of the complex turnaround process with the proposed schedule. If the technology detects any issues that could put the aircraft at risk of a delay, an alert is sent to the manager in charge of the turn within seconds via a smart watch, informing them of the issue and empowering them to take action to get the flight back on track.

In this first stage of the trial, British Airways and Assaia have installed four cameras on three stands at Heathrow Terminal 5 and as well as reducing delays, the airline is also able to collect data on every aircraft turn to help make its entire operation more efficient.

British Airways’ Director of Airports, Raghbir S. Pattar, said:

British Airways operates up to 800 flights a day to and from Heathrow; we run a highly complex operation so efficient turnarounds are critical to ensure all 145,000 customers travelling through our home hub every day enjoy a punctual departure.

We are the most punctual of the major short-haul airlines flying out of London and our commitment to introducing the latest technology to complement our outstanding customer service is how we will maintain our position at the top. We’re excited to introduce even more smart, tech-based solutions in 2020.

Max Diez, CEO, Assaia International said:

Our entire team is really excited to be working with British Airways – an airline that is prioritising innovation and sees the value of AI-powered solutions. We’re eager to work with the airline to maximise the potential that the technology has to improve operations

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

As part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers, this innovation is set to reduce one of the airline’s passengers’ biggest issues: punctuality. It’s great to see the deployment of innovative solutions that will improve the passenger experience.

Global Travel Management is a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technology to improve our customers’ experience. So we know that the investments British Airways make in AI, as well as wearable tech, driverless airside vehicles and biometric technology will continue to make passenger journeys smoother, easier and more hassle-free.

To book flights on any British Airways route, worldwide and to secure the best fares, please contact your GTM Account Manager.


Intelligent software captures every moment from when aircraft arrive at the airport until they depart to help spot areas to improve punctuality

British Airways and Aston Martin gear up for take-off


British Airways customers experienced flying eleven miles high at twice the speed of sound, with Concorde halving the time of transatlantic crossing and flying faster than a rifle bullet. And now, in its centenary year, and on the anniversary of Concorde’s final flight, British Airways has announced a partnership with Aston Martin, and will celebrate with a limited-edition sports car that honours the supersonic aircraft.

The luxury British car manufacturer has created the DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition. Launching in October 2020, each vehicle will feature titanium from compressor blades that were used across British Airways’ supersonic fleet.


The iconic Aston Martin brand fuses the latest technology, exceptional hand craftsmanship and timeless design to produce models including the Vantage, DB11, Rapide AMR and DBS Superleggera. 

Each model will have a unique Civil Aviation Authority approved registration number and British Airways’ iconic Chatham Flag tailfin has been incorporated into the striking design. The exterior features a bespoke painted livery in the airline’s red, white and blue colours, and a black tinted carbon fibre roof emblazoned with Concorde’s streamlined silhouette. The paddle shifters will be made from the original Concorde metal and a Mach Meter graphic will be embroidered on the driver’s sun side visor; some of the many carefully judged design features that have been incorporated to celebrate the remarkable achievements of this aircraft.

Strictly limited to just 10 examples and priced at £321,350, all will be available to purchase exclusively from Aston Martin Bristol.

On November 26, 2003, Alpha Foxtrot, the last ever Concorde to be built, touched down for the final time at RAF Filton, which is just three miles from where the cars will be sold and home to one of the 10 Concordes that were made in Britain.

Parts of the proceeds from the sale of each individual car will be donated to the Air League Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that teaches under privileged children how to fly and work in engineering. In June 2020, British Airways and Aston Martin Bristol, in partnership with the Air League Trust, will run a week-long scholarship programme for young people at Cranfield University – funded by proceeds from the cars.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

Concorde was one of the most iconic designs of a generation and will always be a hugely important part of our heritage. In our centenary year we are thrilled to partner with Aston Martin, another British brand with an established history of exceptional design and engineering, and we hope to inspire another generation of aviators and engineers through this exciting partnership.

The bespoke inspection plaque will be signed by Alex Cruz and Aston Martin Lagonda’s CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer, before the limited-edition cars are handed over to their buyers next year.

The Aston Martin and British Airways Air League Scholarship programme will offer up to twenty 17 to 18-year-olds a five-day scholarship and up to 100 14 to 16-year-olds a one-day engineering experience.

British Airways New A350-1000 Now Flying to Madrid!

British Airways has now taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 which is currently operating on the London Heathrow – Madrid route to familiarise crews with the aircraft.

Should you wish to be one of the first passengers to fly on this plane before it begins operating long-haul routes (Dubai & Toronto, followed by Tel Aviv and Bangalore) this autumn, you can do so on either of the following flights: BA464 and BA465 during August.

This new aircraft is the first to feature BA’s brand new Club Suites, which marks a significant improvement on the current Club World product.

There will be no First cabin, however, the Club Suites will feature in a 1-2-1 layout, along with 56 WTP seats and 219 in WT.

The A350-1000  is the quietest of any twin-aisle plane and provides airlines with a 25% reduction in fuel burn.

GTM Two-for-One on British Airways premium cabins

British Airways has launched a sale offering a pair of Club World (business class) seats from just £2019 return.

There are a range of destinations available for £2019 return for two, including top US destinations such as New York, Miami, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas. Further afield the £2019 fare for two will take travellers to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Other destinations are available for marginally more including Beijing, Hong Kong and Bangkok for £2998, Mumbai, Chennai, Lagos and Abuja for £2999, Antigua for £2305, Barbados for £2332 return and Toronto for £2399.

And there are deals to be had in other cabins too with two First class seats to New York and Miami respectively available from £3019.

Travel is for selected dates between 13 August and 30 September 2019 and customers need to book by 19 August.

Please contact your GTM Travel Consultant to take advantage of this fantastic short term offer.

British Airways Moves to Beijing Daxing.

British Airways has announced that its direct flights between London Heathrow and Beijing will move to the new state-of-the-art Daxing Airport from 27 October 2019.

With a massive 52,000m2 available for retail, food and beverage and service, facilities at Beijing Daxing will include over 300 shops and restaurants and for those eligible passengers access to a brand-new partner lounge.

The new airport is approximately 50km from both Beijing city centre and the Xiong’an New Area and only 80km from Tianjin. Transport connections to and from Beijing Daxing include four new highways, two new subway lines and a high-speed railway, which will carry customers to Beijing West Station in under 20 minutes. A new terminal station is set to open in the Lize Business District in the next few years.  Customers transferring to other flights will also benefit from its status as the only through check-in airport for foreign airlines in China.

Beijing Daxing, which is due to open in September 2019, will initially house four runways and one terminal building. In the future, it is set to include an additional three runways and a second terminal building, serving 100million customers each year. The move will also help British Airways to strengthen and develop its network through its codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines, which will also be based at the new airport.

The London to Beijing route will continue as a daily service, operated by a Boeing 787-9 in the winter and a Boeing 777-300 in the summer, with four cabins: First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.