Embattled British Airways may cut more jobs

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The Independent Online

British Airways is close to finalising a new cost-cutting plan that may result in further job losses at the troubled company.

The airline, which has seen its high-earning transatlantic flights disrupted by security alerts this week, is working on how to remove further costs in the business.

Some 13,000 jobs at the company have been lost in the past two years, which has helped reduce costs by £1.5bn, but BA is still struggling to stave off the impact of falling sales.

Rod Eddington, its chief executive, has made it clear that cost-cutting measures will be key to the company's survival. "The revenue coming into the airline has shrunk faster than we have been able to reduce our costs. Our airline is still too expensive to run," Mr Eddington said in a recent letter to staff.

The size and scale of the cuts are now being firmed up and will be signed off by the end of the month. "Every aspect of the business is being reviewed and job cuts are a possibility," a spokeswoman for the company said.

BA yesterday said its services were back to normal after a week of security alerts that saw the airline cancel two flights to Washington and one to Riyadh.

It was still too early to assess the impact of the heightened security concerns on passenger numbers.

"So far there have been hardly any cancellations. Most people were rebooked on to different flights and the planes to Washington were full when they took off. We haven't seen any fall off in bookings since the US stepped up its security measures before Christmas," the spokeswoman said.

The increased terrorist fears are, however, unlikely to help dispel the slump in global tourism that has followed the September 11 attacks. BA has also suffered from the onslaught of low cost airlines on short haul routes and the outbreak of SARS in Asia.