Coronavirus: British Airways warns pilots of job losses as it continues to axe flights

Meanwhile, Italian government says it will bail out Alitalia – again

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 17 March 2020 14:31 GMT
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A British Airways aeroplane takes off from the runway at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 in west London
A British Airways aeroplane takes off from the runway at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 in west London (AFP)

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British Airways says that some pilots will face redundancy as a result of the calamitous slump in revenue caused by coronavirus.

While BA has not directly commented on staff cuts, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) says the airline has told them “an unspecified number are facing potential redundancy as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis”.

Last week, BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, said that jobs will go and planes will be grounded during what he described as a “crisis of global proportions like no other we have known”.

Balpa has said it is “extremely disappointed” that some BA pilots are facing redundancy.

The general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “This will be shocking news to those pilots who will be told that they are in a potential redundancy situation.

“While we do not underestimate the magnitude of the problem facing BA and other airlines we are extremely disappointed that a company like BA with a strong balance sheet and cash reserves has rushed into redundancy consultation.

“That said, we are reassured that BA has agreed to work with us to avoid the need for any compulsory dismissals; for us job security is absolutely paramount.

“This is the biggest crisis the aviation industry has faced in decades, and without more government support, we fear the impact will be far greater.”

BA’s parent company, IAG, has said it will cut three-quarters of flights in April and May.

The Independent has asked British Airways for a response.

BA’s long-haul rival, Virgin Atlantic, is “offering a one-time voluntary severance package” to all its staff, as well as sabbaticals of six to 12 months.

Meanwhile, the Italian government has said it will “renationalise” Alitalia.

The move will have little noticeable effect. The country’s flag carrier has been propped up for decades by the government in Rome, with taxpayers contributing an estimated €12m (£10m) per week to keep Alitalia afloat.

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