SWOT analysis of British Airways (BA SWOT)
This is a detailed SWOT analysis of British airways (BA). It aims to explore the strengths and the weaknesses of British Airways. It also aims to examine the opportunities and the threats facing the airline. British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the UK, headquartered in London.
Strengths of British Airways
British Airways is one of the top airlines in the world. It is the largest airline in the UK in terms of fleet size. It is also the second largest airline in the UK in terms of passenger carried. While being a long-term customer of Boeing, BA is also a customer of both Airbus, and Embraer.
British Airways is a full-service airline and offers year-round low fares compared to many of its competitors. It flies to over 170 destinations in more than 70 different countries worldwide. It serves approximately 45 million customers a year in the UK alone (British Airways, 2021). It was the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Certainly, it is a very busy airline which is evidenced from the fact that at least one of its aircrafts takes off in every 90 seconds from somewhere in the world.
British Airways has a strong brand image as a leading global premium airline. It is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance – an alliance of 13 of the world’s leading airlines that is committed to offering the highest level of service and convenience to passengers traveling to and from over 1000 destinations in more than 50 countries.
British Airways is also one of the top 20 safest airlines in the world. It won a number of awards and accolades over the years. For instance, it was voted No. 1 Consumer Superbrand in the UK in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It also won the Best Domestic Airline category in 2018 awarded by the prestigious Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (British Airways, 2021).
According to Mazareanu (2020) British Airways generated £13.3 billion revenue in 2019. Apart from its own revenue, it can also rely on the British Government in times of economic turbulence. For instance, it secured a government guarantee for a £2 billion loan which should help it deal with the challenges posed by Brexit and the global economic lockdowns (Hollinger, 2020).
Weaknesses of British Airways
Some analysts hold the view that BA is over reliant on the UK market. Almost half of the airline’s revenues come from this country. This reliance makes it vulnerable to any potential market slowdown and intensifying competition in the UK.
British Airway’s treatment of its staff has been branded as a ‘disgrace’ by a number of members of parliament in the UK (BBC, 2020). This accusation was in relations to the airline’s decision of making around 12,000 redundant following the global lockdown crisis in 2020.
British Airways staff started a fortnight of strikes in July 2017 in the UK. This is the result of an ongoing and increasingly bitter pay dispute between the airline and its Mixed Fleet crew (Trend and Morris, 2017). This type of dispute not only throws travel plans of many people into disarray, but also points out the airline’s weakness in dispute resolution.
Opportunities for British Airways
This stage in the SWOT analysis of British Airways sheds light on opportunities for the airline. Certainly, emerging economies with their improved infrastructure and tourism demand offer it an excellent opportunity for expansion.
BA announced in February 2017 launching new summer holiday routes e.g. Florence, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma from Bristol and Birmingham airports in the UK. More summer holiday routes are worth exploring. Likewise, reviewing the routes that were discontinued previously could a good thought.
Threats to British Airways
Competitors are usually considered threats. BA faces a number of powerful competitors in many of its routes. For example, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, and Emirates airline are some of the competitors of BA.
Rising fuel costs and rising labour costs in the UK are other challenges facing BA. Likewise, any serios accidents may also turn out be utterly devastating for the company. It is worth noting that since the beginning, BA has been involved in a number of accidents and incidents. However, it is also worth mentioning that it is one of the safest airlines in the world.
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Last update: 02 March 2021
BBC (2020) British Airways’ treatment of staff ‘a disgrace’, say MPs, available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53027776 (accessed 01 March 2021)
British Airways (2021) British Airways Factsheets, available at: https://mediacentre.britishairways.com/factsheets/details/86/Factsheets-3/33 (accessed 08 November 2019)
British Airways (2021) Company information, available at: https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/about-ba?source=BOT_about_ba (Accessed 01 March 2021)
Hollinger, P. (2020) British Airways secures state backing for £2bn loan, available at: https://www.ft.com/content/6a0d4cf0-f134-4f17-bc6b-88ef69ab6e00 (accessed 28 February 2021)
Mazareanu, E. (2020) British Airways – worldwide revenue 2010-2019, available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264296/british-airways-worldwide-revenues-since-2006/ (accessed 01 March 2021)
Trend, N. and Morris, H. (2017) What you need to know about the BA strike as cabin crew announce two more weeks of action, available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/advice/flight-cancellations-your-rights/ (Accessed 05 January 2018)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.