British Airways CitiExpress to relaunch as BA Connect

Travel News Asia 12 January 2006

British Airways regional subsidiary, British Airways CitiExpress, is to embark on a major drive to improve profitability and compete more aggressively in the UK regions.

The regional airline, to be renamed BA Connect, will offer more choice and even lower fares with prices slashed by more than 40%.

BA Connect will offer:

- A single class cabin on all aircraft.
- Buy on board, hot and cold catering.
- Year-round, changeable, one-way fares from as little as 25, including taxes, fees and charges.
- A new offering for business and frequent flyers called BA Connect Plus.

The major shake up will see restricted and non-changeable tickets disappear. All tickets will be changeable, no matter how little they cost. British Airways Club Europe brand will no longer feature on the regional services to Continental Europe.

There will be two ticket types:

- BA Connect - a non-restricted and changeable ticket. Two million seats will be available, year- round, at the lowest prices. Travellers will also accumulate BA Miles on every fare.

- BA Connect Plus a non-restricted and changeable ticket with airport lounge access and instant seat selection at the time of booking included in the price. Prices will start from 110 one-way, including taxes, fees and charges. This fare level also allows travellers to earn Executive Club frequent flyer points and BA Miles.

All customers will be eligible for membership of British Airways Executive Club, as well as having access to online check-in, online boarding pass printing, self-service check-in and a valet bag service.

BA Connect will take to the air on March 26, 2006 and bookings will be made through the airlines website from February 1 as well as through travel agents and the airlines telephone reservations centres.

Prior to the official relaunch it is business as usual for customers who may continue to make reservations for British Airways CitiExpress services through the normal booking channels.

The re-launch will be supported by a major sales and marketing campaign and is part of British Airways drive to improve the profitability of its short-haul flight operations.

The aircraft livery and staff uniforms will remain unchanged, apart from the name BA Connect, which will appear on the fuselage.

Flights at London City airport, and also those of British Airways mainline at Heathrow and Gatwick, will continue to offer complimentary catering on shorthaul services and a separate Club Europe cabin on the European network.

David Evans, managing director British Airways CitiExpress, said, The restructuring of the regional business will set us apart in this fiercely competitive market. We have an innovative service promise for business and short-break leisure air travellers, offering year-round, one-way prices that match the no-frills airlines and the added service promise and resources of an airline of British Airways size and stature.

The move is a direct response to changing customer needs and the challenges that have emerged in the marketplace since the creation of British Airways CitiExpress. We know air travellers value British Airways distinctive brand and the wide range of benefits associated with a full service airline at competitive prices.

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