For a text book case study in how to screw a brand into oblivion, British Airways in Australia is irresistible.
The once ubiquitous ‘world’s favourite airline’ has already shrunk to triviality thresholds in this country with a token timetable between Sydney and London.
Which makes claims that the news about the forthcoming British Airways cabin crew strikes is good for those flying on the carrier between here and the UK this Saturday, Sunday and Monday seem quaint.
BA’s partner on the kangaroo route, Qantas is clearly unruffled by the prospect of the carrier experiencing ‘difficulties’ over either the first three day strike period from this Saturday or for four days from March 27.
Qantas is confident that it can provide alternatives to the BA flights if necessary, and BA says the Australian routes will still operate during the first disruption.
Of course. Qantas turned the JSA or joint services agreement between itself and BA into a wonderful device for reducing its costs on the routes and carrying most of the customers, as successive managements of the British carrier lost whatever focus they had on Australia.
Like the threatened but aborted BA strike over Christmas, the only effect on Qantas would be fuller flights and more revenue.
The real pain for travellers from here in the case of a BA strike applies to connecting flights to elsewhere in the UK and Europe on the carrier, but then again, connecting to another flight in London is a pain any time, and as far as back track connections to Europe go, a richly deserved punishment for stupidity, given the faster alternative connections on Cathay Pacific, Thai International, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and ‘everyone’.
When in the future the history of airline alliances and route sharing arrangements is examined alongside the original claims made for them, it will be apparent that in most cases the strongest carriers will have used them to dominate and diminish the weaker or less well managed partners.