British Airways to 'suspend 36,000 workers to survive coronavirus outbreak'

2 April 2020, 07:59

British Airways is expected to suspend 36,000 of its staff
British Airways is expected to suspend 36,000 of its staff. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

British Airways is reportedly going to suspend around 36,000 of its staff days after the company suspended all flights going in and out of Gatwick Airport.

It is understood the airline has been in consultation with the industry's chief union, Unite, on the furlough plan for more than a week.

BA's expected decision would mean up to 80% of BA cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office personnel would have their jobs suspended, although no staff are expected to be made redundant.

Affected workers are likely to receive some of their wages through the Government's coronavirus jobs aid package, which covers 80% of workers' salaries, capped at £2,500 a month.

The financial package - expected to cost around £78 billion - was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week.

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Dominic Raab announced BA is among airlines who are repatriating Britons
Dominic Raab announced BA is among airlines who are repatriating Britons. Picture: PA

From March 1, employers will be able to furlough their workers instead of making them redundant.

The jobs suspension will affect all BA's staff based at Gatwick and London City Airport.

In addition to the airline no longer flying to Gatwick, London City Airport has also been closed to commercial and private flights.

The reported move comes after BA suspended its operations at Gatwick on Tuesday, and with London City Airport closed to commercial and private flights.

On Monday, Dominic Raab announced that BA was among a number of airlines who will be part of a £75 million scheme to repatriate Britons who are stranded across the globe.

He said "hundreds of thousands" of British people abroad have already returned home, but a great deal of others have still be unable to travel back.

But Mr Raab admitted "we've got a lot more to do" to ensure every British citizen gets home safely.

The International Air Transport Association has said it expects airlines to suffer losses of around £40 billion as a result of the outbreak.

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