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Strategy and Planning

Fleets and routes have to be planned years in advance, while customer preferences can change on a whim. Economic and political factors have a huge impact on different areas of operations, and competitor activity remains fierce and ever-present.

Strategy is about asking the fundamental questions any business must address if it is to possess a clear sense of direction. Over the past few years we have put into place some major strategic developments as part of our drive to remain a leading international airline for the 21st Century. Over the next few years we will begin to witness the results.

Anyone who is interested in the airline industry is almost certain to find Strategy a fascinating environment. It is central to where we currently are as a business and where we want to be.

However, Strategy is not an ivory tower. The questions may be broad, but the answers invariably lie in the detail. We are directly linked to the businesses upon which our decisions impact, and communication has to be two way and free flowing.

Specialisation is usually in one of the following areas:

Fleet Planning

Fleet planning is a vitally important aspect of any air transport operation. We determine what aircraft should be operated and in what numbers to meet the needs of the business. Typically, this involves evaluating new and existing aircraft types, comparing all the costs and checking compatibility with our existing fleet and route network.

Part of our job is to influence manufacturers to produce aircraft that will meet future requirements. We also get involved, along with colleagues in Aircraft & Maintenance Purchasing, in negotiating commercial deals with aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Business Planning

We play a leading role in co-ordinating and facilitating the broad business planning process across British Airways.

One of our most important tasks is to define and track the company's strategic priorities. From there, we co-ordinate the development of our corporate strategy, producing an outline plan for the next five years. This covers financial targets and projections, departmental targets, our fleet plan, our alliance strategy, major investment projects and market projections.

Recently, a lot of our work has centred on improving performance measures right across the airline and developing a business model that will allow us to plan up to 10 years ahead.

Network Planning

We manage the commercial development of the British Airways worldwide schedule in order to maximise value from our network of services. This role places us at the heart of airline operations, as we reconcile market conditions and opportunities with operational considerations.

We become involved in recommending new routes, additional frequencies, capacity changes and more competitive timings. We also carry out large-scale evaluations in partnership with colleagues from other areas of Strategy.

In addition to developing long term plans for the airline, we represent the commercial side of the business when it comes to managing the many smaller adjustments, which happen with short lead times. At the same time we are heavily involved in evaluating and implementing the network component of our relationships with alliance and franchise partners.

Policy and Economics

Policy & Economics aids business planning and decision-making by assessing the broader economic environment and government policy issues. We provide an authoritative analysis of the airline's major global markets, including inflation forecasts and economic reviews. We also monitor economic and political developments in regions that have particular significance for British Airways and our alliance partners.

Across the airline, we advise departments on government and regulatory issues including European Monetary Union, taxation proposals and competition policy.

Our forecasts of market growth and demand are used to set many of the airline's sales targets, as well as our pricing policies. Other areas of the airline look to us for airline industry analyses and information about possible future trends

Operational Research

Our Operational Research (OR) people make a huge contribution to British Airways' strategic direction, profitability and performance. We have one of the strongest OR groups in the UK, working right across the business from Strategy to Operations to Marketing and more.

Wherever we apply our skills, the emphasis is on delivering practical results that have a real impact on the business. Returns from individual initiatives have been worth tens of millions of pounds a year. We offer a variety of career paths in OR, including opportunities to specialise. Our roles are also an excellent training ground, and many people have moved on from here to take up senior management positions in the business.

Many OR professionals join our Heathrow-based teams with relevant experience gained from within the industry. In these instances we look for the ability to tackle complex problems with confidence, and the communication skills to convey technical results to non-technical colleagues.

We also run a Graduate Programme for those leaving university who are interested in a career in Operational Research.