British Airways furloughs nearly 36,000 staffs amid COVID-19 crisis

Published on : Friday, April 3, 2020

United Kingdom’s flag carrier British Airways has decided to lay-off nearly 36,000 staff until the end of May. The move has been decided under the British government’s furlough scheme for companies that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. All employees from ground staff, cabin crew, engineers and office employees would fall under the lay-off plan.



The decision comes following International Airlines Group’s announcement to cut down its planned schedule further. Presently, only 10% of flights are scheduled to operate for the months of April and May. Back during March, the group owning British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia announced plans to cut three-quarters of departures amid the COVID-19 crisis. A further plunge in the market and decreased passenger demand resulted in new cuts being executed.



In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the aviation industry is facing the worst crisis in history. National lockdowns and global travel restrictions have resulted in a huge reduction in passenger travel demand. Therefore, British Airways decided to carry out staff lay-off similar to numerous airlines across the globe.



However, British Airways is making use of the COVID-19 job retention scheme proposed in the U.K. The carrier has reached an agreement with trade unions, GMB and Unite seeking allowance to apply the job retention scheme to cabin crew and ground-based employees.



Under this scheme, employees who underwent lay-off will receive 80% of their base salary and of certain allowances up to a maximum of £30,000 annually. British Airways mentioned in a statement that the agreement is subject to official validation from the union.



Nearly 4,000 British Airways pilots have agreed to take four weeks of unpaid leave in April and May. The carrier also mentioned that its colleagues have done a commendable job by keeping vital routes open. They helped customers reunite with their families and contributed to bringing back supplies to hospitals, factories, and shops.



The airline further added that due to the challenges caused by the coronavirus, like many airlines, it discussed with colleagues and advised to implement the furlough scheme in order to minimise the financial impact on the employees.



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