British Airways (BA) has over the years continued to leverage on the best and unrivaled customer service experience and technological innovations to remain top in the lucrative yet competitive aviation industry.

Its experienced operational and commercial teams worldwide take pride in delivering high levels of performance and customer care.

BA footprint in Africa

Since its inception in 1931, British Airways (BA) has remained one of the world’s most prestigious and trusted airlines, offering best in-breed customer experience, a wide range of products and an extensive route network to cater for the needs of travelers across the globe.

Based in Heathrow Airport, London, the airline is a house hold name in the African Airspace. The airline has over 200 fleet and operates daily flights to Nairobi in East Africa, Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, Johannesburg in South Africa and Egypt to the north. It also operates flights to Luanda in Angola.

Mr Kevin Leung, the Commercial Manager for British Airways -Kenya and Ghana.

British Airways has relentlessly continued to develop their expertise in the untapped but promising African airspace and sees the continent as a huge potential for investment opportunities owing to the growing economies.

“We can trace our history more than 80 years ago on 8th July 1931 when Nairobi –based Wilson Airways began regular weekly mail and passenger service Nairobi-Kisumu-Nairobi to connect with our predecessor Imperial Airways’ UK-Central Africa services,” says Kevin Leung, the Commercial Manager for BA-Kenya and Ghana.

In January 31, 1952, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), a forerunner of British Airways flew Princess Elizabeth to East Africa on the first stage of a Commonwealth tour and flew her back a week later as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II following the death of her father King George VI.

In August 1978, British Airways services in Nairobi moved from Embakasi to the newly opened international airport later to be called Jomo Kenyatta where it has operated to date.

Mr Leung says the firm’s commitment to offer top notch solutions has continued to give them an edge in the aviation industry.

The airline has numerous accolades to its name, among them The Business Traveler Awards 2016 in which it bagged the best short-haul and best airport lounge awards, and the World Travel Awards 2016 where the carrier was crowned Europe’s leading airline.

Best in-flight services

BA has been at the forefront of innovation and progression from the world’s first daily scheduled flights to the first fully flat bed. With over 200 fleet, the carrier offers world class in-flight services tailored to meet the needs of both leisure and the business traveler.

The airline presents numerous options for its clients and works to ensure its customers enjoy exclusive service while on board. The airline’s travel classes include First class, Club World (Business Class), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and the Economy Class.

“Our daily Nairobi-London flights departs at 11pm offering the utmost convenience to the business traveler who gets time to do their business and travel back on the same plane in the evening. Flights to the USA leave daily in the morning,”Leung says.

“We continue to remain committed to our customers in Kenya. A lot is happening here and the country has proved great for business opportunities as well as tourism.”

Last year British Airways launched its expansion programme on the Nairobi-London route, increasing its passenger capacity by introducing Boeing 747-400, adding 784 seats a week on the route.

Asked about the June 23 vote where United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union, Mr Leung said the firm does not expect Brexit to have a long-term impact on its business.

“We introduced Boeing 747-400 on July 1 which was a few days after the Brexit referendum poll,” he notes.

However, effects of the Brexit will not immediately be felt since the UK has two years to negotiate terms of the split with the European Union.

Mr Leung says: “We are poised to even serve our customers more effectively with our numerous aircraft.”

“We have launched plans to acquire bigger aircraft including Boeing and Airbus to complement the ever growing business class as well as boost tourism between Africa and Europe while increasing efficiency and reliability,” he notes.

Oil and Gas boom in East Africa

British Airways is looking to capitalize on the recent oil and gas boom that has placed East Africa as one of the most prolific exploration sites.

East Africa comprises of diverse economies among them Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mozambique. The countries have recently made discoveries, showing the potential to fundamentally transform their economies through investments in road, rail, power and industrial infrastructure.

In particular, Kenya is the top most preferred investment destination in East Africa, with the majority of venture hunters attracted to good infrastructure and ease of doing business. The proposed Sh400 billion crude oil pipeline is also a major attraction to investors, who stream in to benefit from Kenya’s impending oil resources.

“BA is aware of the recent developments and employs the best expertise to traverse these markets and expand its footprint in the budding economies,” says Mr Leung.

“The firm has continued to support the SME sector in Kenya,” adds Mr Leung.

Last year, the airline entered into a deal with telecommunications giant Safaricom to help the small and medium enterprises to source supplies in the international markets. Dubbed Emerging Enterprises Initiative, the partnership provides international exposure to the SMEs at affordable and competitive rates.

Customer service experience

British Airways train their employees to deliver the best services to its vast clientele. The airline goes beyond the service on board to take care of the immediate needs of their customers. It has developed a portfolio of products that meet customer requirements.

For instance, BA has invested in ultra-modern technological solutions to ensure efficiency in their offerings. The British Airways App has made traveling easy and convenient. Customers can easily manage their travel on the move via the mobile phone, iPad or Apple watch which allows them to check-in with only three taps and also download the boarding passes for their flights.

In 2015, the carrier changed its in-flight menu to more refined local and international cuisine. The new changes to its on-board catering service introduced in June, include a special good night service for its Club World (Business Class) passengers and an expanded range of entrées on the First Class menu.

Mr. Kevin Leung, says the idea was a success, and the menus are rotated every month to ensure that passengers enjoy a varied range of both local and international cuisine.

“British Airways continues to look for opportunities to improve its customers’ experience, as the airline is known for innovation and best value for money.”

Industry competition

Aggressive competition in the aviation sector has seen world airlines compete to offer the best client solutions in order to navigate the landscape and stay ahead.

British Airways has moved to invest in the best customer service personnel and the team works round the clock to make sure that things are in place to stem the competition.

“British Airways is the oldest commercial passenger airline operating in Africa, and a lot is expected of us as it is with other airlines. For decades now, our customers here have stayed with us for the simple reason that we have been committed to listening to them and serving their needs. The future is indeed very bright for us both,” Mr Leung explains.

In its bid to diversify and maintain its position at the top of the industry, British Airways is banking on a strong reputation to help it weather the storm of the industry’s transformation.

“Reputation is a key instrument in developing a global hub strategy as well as the global network. We work to ensure the best reputation for the airline.”

At British Airways, we focus on maintaining a good name by coming up with innovative products and customer service for our clients as we look to grow our presence in the aviation industry”