After a hellacious couple of months British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh was back to his old chirpy self today, despite voluntarily turning down a £700,000 bonus.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning , Walsh said that he “felt it wouldn’t be appropriate” to accept his chunky bonus in the wake of the catastophe that was the opening of London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
But Walsh has good reason to be chirpy, despite missing out on what to most of us is a sum of money that can only be dreamed about. Under his leadership BA has hit its much sought-after 10% operating margin target.
The airline today unveiled full-year pre-tax profits of £883 million, a 45% year-on-year increase, on revenues that rose 3.1% to £8.8 billion. Not bad for an airline that has barely been out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Walsh also swept aside persistent press rumours that he is about to be given the boot, telling the Today programme that “I’ll be here for another 10 years”.
By my calculation, this would put him just beyond the age of his planned retirement, which he told me about during Airline Business’ March cover interview. You can never quite believe everything you’re told!
As for the admirably relinquished £700,000 bonus, if BA is at a loose end with what to do with it and wants to both score some much-needed good PR and help some people in true and desperate need, may I suggest a donation to help the victims of the recent natural disasters in Burma and China? Just a thought.