Sky News has reported this morning that British Airways is expected to suspend 36,000 members of staff as the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge the travel industry.


The BBC reports that the flag carrier has reached “a broad deal” with the Unite union, with around 36,000 staff set to be suspended.


If the plan goes ahead, around 80% of cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office employees will be affected, including all staff at London City and Gatwick airports, where BA has suspended all operations.


Various reports have suggested staff will not be made redundant. 


Affected workers will most likely continue receiving some of their wages through the government’s coronavirus jobs aid package, which covers 80% of workers’ salaries, capped at £2,500 a month.


A spokesperson for the union said: “Unite has been working around the clock to protect thousands of jobs and to ensure the UK comes out of this unprecedented crisis with a viable aviation sector.


“Talks with British Airways are ongoing, and Unite’s priority is always to communicate with our members, who are very anxious at this time but who understand the work that Unite is doing to protect jobs, incomes and futures.”


The carrier has struck a separate deal with its 4,500 pilots, who will take two weeks’ unpaid leave in both April and May.


Staff who are placed on furlough are expected to receive 80% of salary capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month, under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.


A BA spokesperson said talks were continuing with Unite on Thursday. 


Thousands of staff within the airline industry have now been temporarily laid off or are taking unpaid leave as the aviation industry continues to take a hit amidst the Covid-19 crisis. 


EasyJet and Virgin are setting up schemes for thousands however, to volunteer over the next two months with the NHS or work in supermarkets.


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