British Airways puts first class champagne flutes and china up for sale

Hannah Boland
·3-min read
British Airways - Frank Augstein/AP
British Airways - Frank Augstein/AP

British Airways is preparing to sell off champagne flutes and fine china once used to serve first class passengers, weeks after its owner revealed losses had topped £5.4bn in the first nine months of the year. 

The airline is understood to be gearing up to announce an online sale next week, which could also see drinks trollies and earlier designs of glassware up for grabs, as well as equipment from 747 jets, which the airline retired earlier this year. 

The sale is, in part, being planned as BA will not be requiring so much tableware for its cabins in the near-term, given its fleet of planes is expected to be reduced for some time as Covid-19 weighs on demand for travel. 

Many of the items primed for sale are currently sitting in warehouses. 

Earlier this year, BA sold millions of pounds worth of art from its collection in an effort to bolster its cash piles. Sotheby's was brought in to value the airline’s art collection which boasts works by artists such as Damien Hirst. 

The sale, which could take place before Christmas, would likely be positioned as an opportunity for customers to own part of British Airways history. A decision on whether it will go ahead is expected soon. 

British Airways declined to comment. 

It comes as British Airways continues to be battered by the fallout from Covid-19, with the Government banning Britons from holidays abroad during the second national lockdown. 

BA under IAG - a decade of turbulence
BA under IAG - a decade of turbulence

Since the virus hit, there has been a severe downturn in travel, and like many in the sector, British Airways was forced to cut costs. It is estimated to have slashed 10,000 roles since the start of the year.

Figures released last month from owner IAG showed it had lost the equivalent of almost €1m an hour over the nine months to the end of September, equal to €6.2bn over the total period. 

IAG boss Luis Gallego had said the results "demonstrate the negative impact of Covid 19 on our business but they’re exacerbated by constantly changing government restrictions". 

"This creates uncertainty for customers and makes it harder to plan our business effectively.”

It has been reining in its operations across British airports, and this month BA decided to suspend all flights from Gatwick airport during the second lockdown. In this period, it has been allowed to run flights to repatriate customers overseas and move essential cargo. 

Prior to the lockdown, British Airways had already shifted most of its short-haul flights to Heathrow, something it is expected to continue until March. The airline's Gatwick operations could ultimately be a smaller part of the business even after it emerges from the crisis, as part of a major recovery plan being drafted by BA executives.

The plans, details of which emerged last month, include boosting long-haul leisure flights to premium destinations such as Barbados and Barbuda to cope with dwindling demand for business travel.