British Airways is reportedly preparing to cut almost 30 per cent of its 42,000 workforce as the coronavirus crisis continues to damage the travel sector.
The airline’s parent company, IAG, said it needed to impose a “restructuring and redundancy programme” until demand for air travel returns to 2019 levels.
Chief executive Alex Cruz wrote a letter to BA staff, which said “the outlook for the aviation sector has worsened further” in the past few weeks, adding: “We must take action now.”
In a statement, IAG said: “The proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.”
“We are a strong, well-managed business that has faced into, and overcome, many crises in our hundred-year history.”
“We must overcome this crisis ourselves, too. There is no government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely… We will see some airlines go out of business.”
Over 23,000 members of staff have already been furloughed – around 4,500 pilots and 23,000 cabin crew staff work at BA.
In 2019, over 145,000 passengers flew with British Airways every day. The airline’s home base is London Heathrow, and it flies to more than 200 destinations in 80 countries. British Airways flies from 16 UK airports in total, including London Gatwick, Heathrow and London City.
Before COVID-19 struck, a British Airways flight would take off across the globe every 90 seconds, according to the airline’s website.
British Airways has a fleet of more than 280 aircraft, including the A350 and 787.
In response to BA’s announcement, general secretary at the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) Brian Strutton responded via the union’s website:
“BA pilots and all staff are devastated by the announcement of up to 12,000 possible job losses in British Airways.
“This has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the COVID storm and declined any Government support.
“BALPA does not accept that a case has been made for these job losses and we will be fighting to save every single one.”
While this news has shocked unions and many others, it’s not so unexpected given the challenge the airline industry is facing at present – many other airlines have been clear that they are facing a battle for survival at the hands of COVID-19.
The Financial Times has also reported that german airline Lufthansa has also considered filing for creditor protection.
Our thoughts go out to all those affected at this time. We still have a number or recruiters in the aviation industry who have either posted jobs or are searching for CVs. So if you feel that your job could be at risk, upload your CV now so recruiters can fine you. You can also apply for relevant aviation jobs here.
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