BA managers face job cuts

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The Independent Online
BRITISH AIRWAYS said yesterday that it is planning cuts in its workforce but it refused to confirm that as many as 2,000 jobs will be axed. The reduction in the workforce follows BA's decision to reduce seating capacity by 12 per cent over the next three years as it introduces smaller aircraft and targets business-class passengers.

A spokeswoman said: "A 12 per cent reduction in capacity will obviously mean fewer people, but it will vary from department to department."

Management grades will bear the brunt of the cutbacks, which British Airways hopes to achieve largely through voluntary means or by not filling vacancies in the headcount. However, the airline would not rule out compulsory redundancies.

The majority of the job losses are expected to fall on the company's administrative headquarters at Heathrow.

BA's chief executive, Bob Ayling, warned of cuts in the airline's 65,000 workforce last week after announcing an 80 per cent slump in second-quarter profits. Frontline employees such as pilots, cabin crew and ground staff will not be affected, but Mr Ayling said support jobs would go as the airline introduced more automation and outsourced areas such as accounting overseas.

BA has identified a further pounds 225m of cost savings to be made by the end of the current financial year, on top of the pounds 1bn achieved since 1997, but executives said that only a small proportion of this related to job cuts.

Industry watchers last week warned that BA could go into the red this year for the first time since privatisation after the airline indicated it would be "significantly affected" by excess capacity. City analysts have forecast underlying pre-tax losses for the full-year could reach pounds 7m.