Coronavirus: British Airways expecting to cut a quarter of pilots

British Airways has told pilots that it expects to reduce headcount by more than a quarter in the first details obtained since it announced swingeing job cuts as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

In a letter to pilots seen by Sky News, the airline says it plans to reduce headcount by 955 for what it calls “volume adjustment”, with a further reduction of 175 resulting from “efficiency changes”.

That would mean a reduction of 1,130 pilots out of a stated total of 4,346.

The cuts are going to be split evenly between captains and co-pilots.

The letter also says changes are going to be made to working conditions for pilots, and that the airline cannot rule out suspending flight operations entirely from its already reduced schedule at Heathrow airport.

This week, British Airways owner International Airlines Group said BA would make up to 12,000 staff redundant from its total workforce and expected cuts to be made across the business as it revealed the impact of the pandemic on its results.

IAG has not made similar announcements for other airlines within the group, such as Iberia, Vueling or Aer Lingus.

The letter – titled “Collective Consultations – Preparing for a Different Future” – states: “In a short space of time, the situation has deteriorated rapidly. Our flying programme and load factors continue to decline.

“The impact on British Airways and the industry in general is like no other previous crisis we have gone through before.”

It goes on: “We are now at a critical juncture and must table proposals for structural change so that our business is in a credible position to respond to what will be a challenging and uncertain trading environment for a sustained period of time.”

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