British Airways Restructures UK Direct Sales

British Airways said it would restructure parts of its UK direct sales operations in response to changing customer behavior and increased sales on its [] web site. As a result, by August 2006, the airline plans to close its Travel Shops business (basically direct selling ticket stores) as well as the airline's Belfast-based customer call center. The proposed changes will impact 300 employees in the airline's 17 travel shops, its corporate travel agency Worldlink based at Heathrow and its back office support areas, as well as an additional 100 employees at the call center. The airline said it will consult with its trade unions about the proposed closures. British Airways said increasingly its customers want to book online, and that the UK call center has experienced a drop of more than 60 percent in calls since 2001, from 15 million annually to six million today.