British Airways have confirmed that the airline is to retain its contact centres in Newcastle and Manchester amidst concerns that the operation would be transferred to outsource giant Capita.
The contact centres in Newcastle and Manchester, which employ 750 and 500 staff, handle queries on flight and hotel bookings, upgrades, prices and car hire with British Airways adding that it would invest ‘millions’ in upgrading technology at both centres to improve customer service.
British Airways have been on a massive cost reduction programme in recent years during which Capita had been in a period of “exclusive engagement” with the airline to support BA’s global customer contact operations, which it said handles around 9.5 million calls a year.
BA’s decision to retain its Newcastle and Manchester contact centres within BA will go ahead subject to a vote by staff at the two facilities.
Alex Cruz, BA chairman and chief executive, said:
“I’m pleased that following a very detailed review, we are planning to retain both of our long-standing UK call centres in Newcastle and Manchester.
“We have highly experienced and knowledgeable teams in both cities, and by modernising how we work as well as introducing new technology we can ensure we offer the very best service to customers.”
Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer for civil air transport, said:
“We are very pleased that, working with the BA management, we have been able to make the strong case customer services are best served by the centres remaining within BA.
“This will give reassurance for the future to our members at Manchester and Newcastle. This decision has come about without any loss in pay and terms and conditions for the workforce, although we are working closely with the company to implement mutually agreed efficiency savings.
“More generally, I think there is a new mood across business and other organisations in the UK that, following the recent Carillion debacle, outsourcing is not necessarily the best option if you wish to develop your business successfully – and keep the customers happy.”
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