British Airways have announced that they might cut 12,000 jobs, representing a quarter of their workforce, due to the ongoing problems caused by the coronavirus. The Labour Party called on the Government to do more to help the aviation industry and to minimise the number of job losses.
Alex Cruz, the Chairman and CEO of the airline, said in a statement to staff:
“Yesterday, British Airways flew just a handful of aircraft out of Heathrow. On a normal day we would fly more than 300. What we are facing as an airline, like so many other businesses up and down the country, is that there is no ‘normal’ any longer. The global aviation body, IATA, has said that the industry has never seen a downturn this deep before, and that full year industry passenger revenues could plummet 55% compared to 2019, while traffic falls 48%. Many airlines have grounded all of their planes. Sadly, we will see some airlines go out of business with the resulting job losses.
Our very limited flying schedule means that revenues are not coming into our business. We are taking every possible action to conserve cash, which will help us to weather the storm in the short-term. We are working closely with partners and suppliers to discuss repayment terms; we are re-negotiating contracts where possible; and we are considering all the options for our current and future aircraft fleet. All of these actions alone are not enough. 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. Any money we borrow now will only be short-term and will not address the longer-term challenges we will face.”
Jim McMahon, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said in a statement:
“This is devastating news for those affected at British Airways. The Government should have stepped in sooner and done more to protect their jobs. The aviation industry is critical to the UK economy but workers should not be being laid off by those at the top who have reaped the rewards from their hard work.
It was always clear aviation needed a sector specific deal to alleviate the immediate financial pressures that exist, yet the Government failed to act. The Government must do more to ensure that airlines and airports have the financial resources needed to operate in a safe environment for staff and customers when the time is right to transition out of the lockdown.”