British Airways may cut 10,000 jobs due to Covid-19

LONDON • British Airways (BA) is expecting to cut as many as 10,000 jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic even as the airline reached deals or agreements in principle with its various unions.

The flagship UK carrier has seen 7,200 people leave as of last Friday, CEO Alex Cruz told lawmakers in London yesterday. The company remains in discussions with some labour groups, he said, and has rowed back on a plan to fire and rehire staff on new contracts.

BA, part of IAG SA, has previously come under fire from parliamentarians and unions for its initial plan to cut as many as 12,000 workers, with the House of Commons Transport Committee accusing the airline of using the coronavirus as an excuse to slash the payroll. The pandemic has reversed decades of growth in the aviation industry, shutting down flights and triggering a slump that could see traffic diminished for years.

BA is currently operating about 35%-40% of its capacity, Cruz said, with ever-changing quarantine rules around Europe having an impact on demand.

The carrier is seeking a resumption of flights between New York and London, with tests on arrival and five days later, to shorten self-isolation requirements and to spur travel across the Atlantic. IAG’s most profitable route remains all but shut due to travel restrictions, depriving the company of a trip that generated about seven million seat sales last year. — Bloomberg