BA heads to the checkout

When people are feeling a little low, they often turn to a spot of retail therapy to give them a lift. Major airlines are apparently no different, as beleaguered BA has shown with its multi-billion pound order for a load of new planes.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The order, which includes 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos and twice as many of Boeing’s latest offering, the 787 Dreamliner, as well as options for more of each, will be paid for with $1.5bn (£750m) of debt from banks. While the words ‘debt’ and ‘banks’ may both induce intense wincing among some in the business community right now, BA’s chief exec Willie Walsh seems, for better or for worse, rather more bullish. Earlier this month he pointed out his confidence in the security of the airline sector as justification for driving ahead with the deal. 

Of course, BA’s habit of hedging their bets with the manufacturers doesn’t do any harm either. Playing the two off against each other is a sure-fire way of getting a better deal.

Pointing out the benefits for people at large, Walsh is also keen to point out the environmental benefits of his shiny new planes ‘in the key areas of CO2 emissions, local air quality and noise’. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get bored of his new toys too soon – otherwise his mind will quickly fall back onto the perils of price fixing, strikes and falling profits.

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