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April 16, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:40am

British Airways stops offering Financial Times to passengers as source claims negative coverage behind move

By James Walker

British Airways has stopped offering the Financial Times to passengers in response to negative stories about it in the paper, a source at the business title has told Press Gazette.

The FT revealed in today’s edition that it would no longer be available on BA flights, at airport lounges or gates after the airline made an “abrupt decision” to end its partnership with the newspaper.

BA has said it regularly reviews what is offered by its airline. It continues to offer the Daily Mail and Guardian newspapers to passengers.

An FT source said BA had “dropped the FT because they don’t like our coverage of them”, adding: “It’s nothing to do with cost – it’s a reaction to the journalism. Plain and simple.

“There was a piece written about data security at a German call centre a few weeks back that seems to have been the trigger.”

The FT ran stories in March about BA staff threatening strike action, a flight landing in Edinburgh instead of Dusseldorf, and staff claims that a BA call centre in Germany was “open to abuse”.

The latter, published on 24 March, reported that employees had raised concerns about “vulnerabilities in data security” at the call centre, resulting from an “‘archaic IT system'”. BA told the FT that it took customer data protection “very seriously” and had invested “heavily in data security”.

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In a mock ad space in today’s newspaper, the FT said: “British Airways had decided to stop providing the Financial Times to passenger on flights, in lounges and at gates worldwide…

“We regret the inconvenience caused to our regular readers by BA’s abrupt decision to end its long-standing partnership with the FT.

“Of course, the world’s favourite business newspaper is widely available on a range of other leading airlines.”

A British Airways spokesperson did not attribute the decision to drop the FT from flights and lounges to anger over stories in the paper.

They said: “We regularly review what is on offer. We offer a wide range of titles to give our customers plenty of digital and print options for news, business and leisure reading material.”

Picture: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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