British Airways Plc, which is facing a tough business class market, is launching a contest to give away 1,000 round-trips starting in September.
“Corporate travel budgets have been cut back severely and consumers are determined to reduce their debt,” BA’s Chairman Martin Broughton said at the company’s annual meeting today, according to Bloomberg.
The company said in released statement that “anyone with a demonstrable business need” can sign up for a chance to win a round-trip flight departing from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago heading to London and then on to other locations. The flights will depart on September 15, October 13, and November 17, respectively.
The contest requires travelers to write complete a 500-word explanation of why their business merits a trip overseas. The selections will be reviewed by BA executives and affiliates, with an advisory panel of business people providing additional counsel to select winners. The deadline is July 31, with notifications sent out by mid-August.
In a commissioned survey of Harvard Business Review readers, the airline said more than half of those polled said recent restrictions on business travel has hurt their business.
BA’s Simon Talling-Smith, executive Vice President for the Americas, told Bloomberg the airline will continue to focus on premium travel.
“We will continue to position ourselves as a premium airline – that is absolutely core to our business model,” he said on Monday. “There is an ongoing demand for business travel and that isn’t going to go away.
Talling-Smith said the airline has not sold out its initial business class-only flights between London City and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport which are set to start on September 29.
The airline said today it is looking to cut up to 4,000 jobs and is considering a bond offering to raise cash, CEO Willie Walsh said at the company’s annual meeting today, according to Bloomberg.
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