Lauren is the code name for the British Airways project that chief executive Willie Walsh says will be the airline’s first response to the first stage of US/EU opening skies, or semi-open skies. Using Boeing 757s, the BA project will link New York with secondary key European business destinations, Walsh said. But Walsh said that Lauren is only the project name and that “we haven’t decided yet on these every serious issues of branding, or naming.” It may be a product that flies under the BA name or, a name such as (fill in the blank) by BA. The flights will be targeted at US-originating, European bound flyers, the business flyers that BA wants. So why, we asked, was it called Lauren?
Well, Walsh said, ask Dale Moss, the US airline branding and marketing expert (and 30-year BA veteran) who is leading the project for BA. We did. And when asked, Moss simply pulls out his billfold and produces a picture of a lovely, smiling baby girl. “My grand-daughter,” he announces proudly. Perhaps it was a good thing that the Mosses didn’t have a grandson named Irving. Or Ted.
The Irishman (Walsh, above, not Moss, right, or Lauren, also above) was in Washington the other day to chat up the International Aviation Club, and says that exciting as Lauren is, he’d be more excited about a better open skies deal. Not only was this first stage unbalanced to the distinct disadvantage of the Europeans, “it was far too timid. It made no move toward dismantling the nationality restriction on airlines ownership and control which have held back the global aviation industry for decades.”