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24.02.2005 General News

BA Travellers Want More

By Larry-Alans Dogbey(Network Herald)

Passengers of the world?s largest airline British Airways say they are thrilled with the airline's promotional offer of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet on the Accra route and its subsequent reduction in fares.

However, like the proverbial Oliver Twist, they want more.

Some of the passengers who had travelled on the jumbo jet before said it is one of the safest and wished it could replace the 767 aircraft on the Accra route which is at present undergoing routine maintenance in the UK.

In an interview with the Network Herald at the Departure Hall of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) last Thursday few hours before they boarded the jumbo jet for the maiden experience on the Accra route, the anxious passengers expressed delight at the offer but wished to have more.

Some of the travellers who claim they have between three and five years experience with both the 767 and 747 airliners commended BA for its customer service particularly on safety, comfort, reliability and above all punctuality.

While two Americans and an Australian Karr McCurdy, Tom Bruington and Geoff Manamara respectively would welcome the replacement of the 767 with the Jumbo jet, Bright Adjei who was flying British Airways for the first time, would want the airline to take into consideration the economic status of travellers to further reduce its airfares.

The Accra route last week witnessed the arrival of one of BA?s biggest commercial aircrafts in the aviation business, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet on the Accra route. The 350-seater aircraft would be on the route from 17th February to 10th March 2005.

The introduction of the aircraft according to BA?s management in Ghana is a rare opportunity to reward its valued customers. ?We are delighted to have this and hope the travelling public will be excited too," BA noted in a press statement from its communications consultants, Stratcomm Africa days before the arrival.

BA?s Marketing Manager in-charge of West Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria Folake Ani-Mumuney who was at the airport for the aircraft first landing on Ghanaian soil denied that BA intends to have an edge over its competitors with its introduction on the Accra route.

She told journalists that the Boeing 747 is just on trial and management would be monitoring its performance from the feedback from its valued customers and would do what is in their interest.

Though BA would want to increase its market shares, the main attention at the moment is to offer passengers services it believes are in their supreme interest. ?The key thing for us is the customer service we offer; it is not just about grabbing market shares, it is about giving the customers what they want?.

The airline says it invests huge sums of money in customer service and would want to hear from them so it could further tailor its services to better meet expectations.

?Passengers drive our business and what they want would be given them.?

On whether the airliner intends to maintain the reduction of the fares, Ms. Ani-Mumuney said the status quo would be returned to in due course. She explained that the cut is as a result of February being a season of love and benevolence. BA is offering $450 fare as its goodwill sign to passengers for their loyalty and commitment. The airline would however not compromise customer service when the original fare is brought back.

The aircraft incorporates major aerodynamic improvements over earlier 747 models, including the addition of winglets to reduce drag, new avionics, a new flight deck and the latest in-flight entertainment systems. It continues to be the world?s fastest subsonic jetliner, cruising at Mach .855 - or 85.5 percent of the speed of sound. Along with the popular Boeing 777, the 747 is a key element of the Boeing long-range market strategy.

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