Brexit Has No Effect On British Airways Bookings

Brexit did not affect the number of bookings according to IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh. As the UK’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union on the 31st Of October, much uncertainty remains as to what will happen.

British Airways, Brexit, Willie Walsh
British Airways has not seen bookings drop as a result of Brexit. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Despite the uncertainty, Mr Walsh seems confident with his company’s ability to handle Brexit, whatever that may mean. The news comes at the same time Ryanair’s CEO is claiming that uncertainty surrounding Brexit has the potential to be damaging to his airline.

British Airways latest

Yesterday IAG’s CEO, Willie Walsh, gave an update on his views on Brexit among other things such as the Boeing 737 MAX. According to Flight Global, Mr. Walsh mentions that British Airways has seen no impact on bookings as a result of the possibility of Brexit.

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British Airways has contingency plans in place in case a messy Brexit ensues. Mr. Walsh told how the airlines fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft is nearly fully depreciated. In other words, they have reached the point where they stop losing value. Mr. Walsh carries on to say that his Boeing 777-200 aircraft have also been almost fully depreciated. This means that should British Airways want to park its aircraft, the airline won’t suffer from lost value. This would allow the airline to reduce its capacity if it needs to do so.

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British Airways, Brexit, Willie Walsh
Willie Walsh does not seem too concerned by Brexit. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Additionally, British Airways is in the fortunate position that it is part of the International Airlines Group. If the airline does not need its full short-haul capacity, BA could return leased aircraft to lessors, or transfer the aircraft to other IAG airlines. This would be fairly easy, as all of the IAG airlines use the Airbus A320 family aircraft for their narrowbody operations.

In a strong position

Willie Walsh believes that Brexit has the potential to hit other airlines much harder than IAG. He says that IAG is in a strong position, and remarks “Anything that is going to impact on us is going to have a hugely disproportionate impact on a lot of airlines out there who are in a very weak position today.”

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What other airlines think

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary is concerned about “increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit in just 12 weeks time”. This could be damaging, especially to the airlines UK and Ireland Bases.

British Airways, Brexit, Willie Walsh
Michael O’Leary seems less optimistic about Brexit. Photo: Ryanair

Meanwhile, Simple Flying recently caught up with airBaltic CEO, Martin Gauss. He does not believe flights between the UK and Europe will change, telling us,

“I cannot imagine that anybody would be so stupid to interfere in flying between countries… I do not believe in whatever scenario comes that the flying between the UK and Europe will be changed.”

Do you think IAG should be worried about Brexit? Let us know in the comments!

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Nick Mackenzie-Rowe

From what I gather from your article is that Willie Walsh is talking facts about bookings from from a purely business perspective. Michael O’Leary is talking about the potential of something happening in the future. If you’ve been paying attention to the debacle over the last 3 years that is Brexit, you will have noticed many ideological rather than business interventions from him. O’Leary , like Branson will use anything to get his airline noticed (quite rightly, it sells seats). Do not however mistake his expression of the possible effect a complete unknown extremely unlikely event (see Baltic air CEO)… Read more »

Matteo Bellagamba

“Mr Walsh seems confident with his company’s ability to handle brexit, whatever that may mean.”
… I read about some progress on slide 29 of the Q2 results presentation.
it states that the national regulators confirmed that the plan submitted by IAG will satisfy the requirement of EU ownership and control of the companies.
If this is the case it’s really good news.