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BA appoints new manager for 3 nations

British Airways has announced the appointment of Sriram Narayan as manager for Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Replacing Neil Ager, who moved to Australia as British Airways' regional commercial manager for the southwest Pacific, Narayan has set his own mission to make British Airways and its alliance partner Qantas the first choice for travellers out of Thailand.

"I want to make sure that we have the services that meet the customers' needs at competitive prices," Narayan said.

Based in Bangkok, Narayan oversees British Airways' key business strategies across Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, together with the operations at Suvarna-bhumi Airport.

"Thailand is a crucial route for us and continues to be strong. My strategy in the pipeline is to bring a brand campaign that has been launched globally into Thailand very quickly," he said.

The campaign places new emphasis on the airline's historic motto "To fly, to serve" and on putting the customers at the heart of everything it does. Beyond advertising, the airline has committed more than Bt250 billion for customer products and services over the next five years. The investment will see British Airways customers benefiting from new aircraft, new cabins, a revamped first class, significant improvements at London's Gatwick airport and better lounges around the airline's network.

Funds will also be allocated to improve catering and bring in new technologies to make the travel experience more comfortable and convenient for customers on the ground and in the air, the airline says.

"I will make a review of our fare structure in Thailand to ensure that they are competitive in the market," Narayan said.

The airline will also focus on point-to-point traffic, he said. British Airways and Qantas are adjusting their joint services between the United Kingdom and Australia beginning this summer to maximise the airlines' respective network strengths. British Airways' current daily service from London Heathrow to Sydney via Bangkok will terminate in Bangkok. Customers wishing to continue on to Sydney can transfer to a Qantas service. British Airways customers can continue to travel to London Heathrow, and connect to any of the airline's 90 destinations in Europe.

Narayan said British Airways was investing ?100 million pounds (Bt4.9 billion) to fit out its long-haul aircraft with new first-class cabins.

Last August, British Airways started a three-month trial with 100 senior cabin crew using the newest iPad to bring a new dimension to customer service in the air. Based on the positive feedback from both cabin crew and customers, the airline since November has started handing out iPads across the fleet to 2,000 senior cabin-crew members. The devices enable crew to have prior awareness of customer preferences, a greater understanding of each customer's previous travel arrangements, and real-time insight, allowing British Airways to offer what it calls truly personalised service.

Narayan has worked with British Airways for almost 22 years and has held various roles across India covering commercial sales and airports. Most recently, he was responsible at the strategic level for the implementation of British Airways' distribution structure, alliances with Kingfisher Airlines and Iberia, managing the general sales agent relationships across South Asia, leading Oneworld alliance activity in South Asia, and leading British Airways' key niche markets.

Before his new appointment, he was commercial development and deputy commercial manager for South Asia of British Airways based in Mumbai.

Narayan said British Airways had a long-standing history in Thailand and had been flying to Bangkok for more than 77 years. In 1993, British Airways and Qantas

entered a comprehensive joint marketing agreement, and have integrated operations in Bangkok as an extension of their wide-ranging alliance.

He said British Airways recognised global air travel's impact on the environment and was committed to raising awareness among travellers of ways to minimise the effects.

The airline will undertake a broad range of activities to support its mission to reduce net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.


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