The company's chairman, Martin Broughton, stated at yesterday's annual meeting that BA is 'up to its neck in perhaps the biggest crisis the aviation industry has ever known.'
The occasion must have been a sober affair that, by some accounts, was made even more arduous by the lack of refreshments on hand.
When the company pledged it would be reviewing elements of its business for cost-saving opportunities, investors quickly got the picture. Cost cutting was starting with the annual meeting.
It's surprising that investors were so keen to get their hands on BA's food, especially given airline food's somewhat unappetizing reputation. But everyone knows that isn't really the way the Brits do business. You can't drop a bombshell without sitting your audience down with a nice cup of tea first. Surprisingly, BA failed to heed this cultural quirk, making its poor old shareholders go without their precious cuppa while delivering them a harsh financial kick in the teeth.
Even Willie Walsh, the chief executive with the cartoon-character-sounding name, couldn't inject some optimism into the occasion. BA 'can't save £1 bn from non-fuel related costs' to compensate for skyrocketing fuel prices, he said. But hey, it can evidently save a few pennies scrimping on the sarnies.
While the share price held up rather stoically yesterday, rising 0.6 percent, it tumbled 5 percent today, presumably once investors had had time to reflect on the dire warnings, or maybe because of those disgruntled shareholders.
Deputy international editor