The pilots union said it was “devastated” by the news and vowed to fight “each and every” job cut.
British airline British Airways announced that it plans to lay off 12,000 of its employees due to the global collapse of air transport as a result of the coronavirus pandemic..
In a statement issued this Monday, the IAG group, which also owns Spain’s Iberia and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, said it officially notified its unions of a restructuring and layoff program due to the pandemic’s impact on current operations and expectations It will take several years for recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels.
“The proposed measures are still under consultation but are likely to affect the majority of British Airways employees and could result in the dismissal of up to 12,000 of them,” he said.
Airline chief executive Alex Cruz said the company “must act with determination to ensure British Airways has a strong future” and that means more than one in four jobs must be cut.
The airline said yesterday that the airline only made a few flights from London Heathrow Airport compared to 300 on a normal day before the pandemic.
Global aviation body IATA said the aviation sector had never seen such a deep recession before, so it predicted that several airlines could close in the coming months.
For its part, the Balpa pilots union said it was “devastated” by the news and pledged to fight “each and every” job cut.
Cruz argued in his statement that the airline was taking all possible measures to save money, which will help it weather the storm in the short term.
In addition, he added that he worked closely with partners and suppliers to discuss payment terms and renegotiate contracts.
“In the past few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now. We are a strong and well-run business that has faced and overcome many crises in our 100-year history,” he said.
Cruz added that there is no government bailout for the company and cannot expect the taxpayer to compensate wages indefinitely.
British Airways took advantage of the job retention scheme announced by the British government and suspended 22,626 workers in April.
However, the CEO clarified that any money they borrow now will only be short-term and will not address the longer-term challenges the airline will face.
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