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Airline in crisis

British Airways warns of 12,000 job cuts as bookings slump

British Airways pic

Airlines are in crisis because of a slump in passengers

British Airways is expected to axe up to 12,000 jobs as it struggles to cope with a collapse in bookings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

BA, which employs about 42,000 staff, including 4,500 pilots and 16,000 cabin crew, has warned that it will take several years to recover to last year’s level of traffic.

The airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), said it needed to impose a “restructuring and redundancy programme” amid a crisis engulfing the airline industry.

EasyJet has laid off its 4,000 UK-based cabin crew for two months and Sir Richard Branson is considering a sale of Virgin Atlantic if he cannot raise finance to support the business.

Norwegian Air has said it could run out of cash by the middle of next month.

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IAG, which also also owns Spanish airline Iberia and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, said: “The proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.”

In a letter to BA staff, chief executive Alex Cruz, wrote: “In the last few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now. We are a strong, well-managed business that has faced into, and overcome, many crises in our hundred-year history.

“We must overcome this crisis ourselves, too. There is no government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely… We will see some airlines go out of business.”

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