01 October 1998

THE WORLD'S FAVOURITE Airline is facing 'its toughest test since the Gulf War', according to chief executive Robert Ayling in a speech reminiscent of Henry V before Agincourt. Barely restraining himself from declaiming 'God for Bobby, England and Saint Colin', Ayling called on BA's 64,000 employees to join a crusade to sell first and business class tickets to travellers. Even cabin crew were urged to call on travel agencies and UK companies to tout for business. The economic downturn has caused a sharp drop in BA's highly profitable premium traffic. Sales director Dale Moss, an apt Fluellen to Ayling's King Harry, left not a dry seat in the house with his plea to staff: 'We're asking people to smile, to light up the cabin, talk up our products. I'm asking you to put anything else to one side and do whatever you can. This is for us', Moss emoted, 'not for our shareholders'.