According to the BBC, British Airways (BA) is expected to suspend 36,000 staff members, although talks between the airline and trade union Unite are still ongoing.
A large number of the airline’s fleet has already been grounded due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with many countries having resorted to banning international travel.
BA flights from the country’s second-busiest airport, Gatwick, and London City Airport have been suspended temporarily due to collapse in demand amid the global crisis.
The airline, owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), has agreed to suspend 80% of its workforce, including the cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and employees stationed at its head office. The employees affected by the suspension will receive partial payment through the United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), covering 80% of an individual’s monthly salary which is capped at a maximum of US$3,100 (£2,500).
No staff, however, are expected to be made redundant.
BA pilots are to receive a significant pay cut – about a 50% salary reduction from their basic salary for the next three months in addition to taking two weeks of unpaid leave in April and May.
In an announcement to the pilots, the move was intended to address “the immediate threat to the business in the face of COVID-19 and the unprecedented impact this is having on the airline,” as published on aviation website, One Mile at a Time.
BA has also temporarily halted its flights to major Asia-Pacific destinations in early April, with many other routes to also be suspended in the coming weeks.
Flights from London to Hong Kong will be suspended beginning April 5, after BA downsized its aircraft capacity from an Airbus A380 to a Boeing 777-300ER. Singapore and Hong Kong have barred non-citizens from entering their countries, except for a few exceptions where passengers will be quarantined for 14 days upon entry. BA has not stopped flying to Sydney, despite the Australian government calling for all passengers to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Customers with flights booked during the grounding period can reportedly receive a full refund, a voucher of the same price of their booking, or an alternative flight of the same value.
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