BAA goes to America

In early 1997, Sir John Egan, CEO BAA was reflecting on the US success of the initial phase of his international strategy, with the contracts to manage the retailing at Pittsburgh, and to manage the whole of Indianapolis airport. BAA plc, formerly British Airports Authority, was privatised in 1987. Sir John had brought to the organisation a philosophy, a mission and a sense of purpose. Two guiding principles of Egan’s BAA were customer service and continuous improvement. "Passengers like all customers are insatiable - they want better service and lower cost every year !"

By 1995 a central strategy for BAA was to increase its international business in order to move from being a company with all its activities in the UK. In the period from 1995 to 2010, BAA planned to increase its international division’s share of operating profit from nearly 1% to 15%. A crucial part of this strategy was to increase the business in the US. The US entry started in October 1991 when BAA won the contract to manage the retail mall at Pittsburgh’s international airport. Given the success to date, a key issue was the nature and timing of their future international strategy.

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