BRITISH Airways says it will be forced to make up to 12,000 staff redundant because of the global collapse of air travel.
CEO Alex Cruz told BA’s 42,000 staff that the company would have to “act decisively” to ensure the airline’s future, cutting more than one in four jobs. “This has been a difficult message to write and one I never thought I would need to send,” he said in a letter to staff.
The company has already put more than 22,000 people on the British government’s furlough scheme.
“What we are facing as an airline, like so many other businesses up and down the country,” Cruz wrote, “is that there is no ‘normal’ any longer.”
The airline, owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), has told the government and trade unions about the job cuts. Consultation with staff and unions has begun, with strong reactions from unions.
Pilots’ union Balpa said staff were “devastated”, and that it intends to contest each and every redundancy. It believes BA is wealthy enough to “weather the Covid storm”. The Unite union says the decision is “heartless”, and at odds with the course of action followed by European competitors.
IAG suffered a £465m loss in the first three months of 2020. This compares with a profit over same period last year of £118m. IAG also revealed a one-off loss of £1.13bn from contracts taken to hedge against rising oil prices — which have fallen into negative territory.
It is still unknown when, or if, there will be a resumption of normal flight scheduling, with airlines and airports around the world in limbo. Several airlines are facing collapse, with many scrabbling for government bailouts and emergency loans.