British Airways is set to cut up to 12,000 jobs due to a decrease in air travel because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline's owner, International Airlines Group (IAG), announced the planned job cuts after revealing that revenue dropped 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
IAG, which also owns Spanish airline Iberia and Ireland's Aer Lingus, explained that it was “formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme” until the demand for air travel returns to the same levels as 2019.
12,000 of 42,000 could be made redundant
British Airways currently has a workforce of 42,000 people, with 12,000 of these expected to be made redundant.
The company also explained that it will take several years for air travel to return to pre-virus levels - something which has been said by airlines across the world.
In a statement, IAG said, “In light of the impact of Covid-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme.
"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.
"As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK's Covid-19 job retention scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April."
‘We must take action now’
BA chief executive, Alex Cruz, wrote in a letter to staff, "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."
However, the pilots' union Balpa said it was "devastated" at the news, and vowed to fight "every single" job cut.
Balpa's general secretary, Brian Strutton, said, "This has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the Covid storm and declined any government support.
"Balpa does not accept that a case has been made for these job losses and we will be fighting to save every single one."