British Airways set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant

28 April 2020, 17:45

British Airways is set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant
British Airways is set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

British Airways is set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant, its parent company IAG has said.

The job cuts were announced after International Airlines Group revealed revenues plunged 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis.

Although the measure "remains subject to consultation," IAG said it would be contacting its trade unions in order to begin enacting redundancies.

British Airways, which employs roughly 42,000 people, is one of many international airlines that has been affected by Covid-19.

With flight demands expected to take "several years" to return to pre-coronavirus levels, BA's parent company said the restructuring would be necessary.

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The company already has more than 22,000 UK staff using the government's furlough scheme, while most of its fleet has been grounded for weeks.

In a statement, IAG said: "In light of the impact of Covid-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme.

"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.

"As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK's Covid-19 job retention scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.”

A message on the British Airways Twitter account added: "The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis for the world. We continue to fly you, our customers, and vital supplies across the world."

The social media post led to a further statement by the airline's chief executive Alex Cruz, which is titled 'Preparing For A Different Future'.

It read: "Yesterday, British Airways flew just a handful of aircraft out of Heathrow. On a normal day we would fly more than 300.

"What we are facing as an airline, like so many other businesses up and down the country, is that there is no ‘normal’ any longer."

The statement warned that some airlines are likely to go out of business "with the resulting job losses."

"We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers and the destinations we serve," it added.

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The letter also said: "In the last few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now.

"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."

Roughly 4,500 pilots and 16,000 cabin crew work for BA, however IAG did not provide any breakdown of how many people in each role would be made redundant.