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China to Become the Second Largest Overseas Cabin Crew Base in the British Airways Network

British Airways is to double the number of cabin crew based in China, making it the second largest overseas base in the airline’s network after India.

The UK flag carrier resumed flights to China last year following a pandemic-induced hiatus and initially recruited just 50 local Mandarin-speaking cabin crew who would solely work on BA’s flights between London and Shanghai, and Beijing.

On Thursday, BA’s chief customer officer, Calum Laming, told Reuters that the carrier was now focused on recruiting 50 more local cabin crew in order to better compete with Chinese airlines.

“Being able to double the number of cabin crew on board has a lot of benefits in terms of language, in terms of cultural awareness,” Laming explained. “Coming back to the market is a major priority for the airline. We would not be out here doubling the crew base size otherwise.”

British Airways initially resumed flights to Shanghai on April 23, and flights to Beijing followed on June 3. The airline is currently operating once daily flights to Shanghai and four times per week to Beijing.

Prior to the pandemic, British Airways had around 140 cabin crew based in China and the airline boasted that more than a third of crew members on any given flight to China spoke fluent Mandarin. It’s not clear where the ratio of Mandarin-speaking to non-Mandarin-speaking cabin crew currently stands.

Laming told Reuters that the airline was keen to increase the number of flights it operated to China, but a lack of planes and delayed aircraft deliveries was restricting growth.

Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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