Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways to make 12,000 staff redundant

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

British Airways has just announced a restructuring and redundancy program that could put 12,000 staff out of work.

If you thought that everything was going to return to normal once travel restrictions end, think again.

Whilst British Airways has already made use of the UK Government’s job retention scheme and furloughed 22,626 of 45,000 employees, it expects that recovery of passenger demand for air travel will take “several years”.  It is unlikely that the furlough programme will continue beyond the end of June.

This is the wording released to the Stock Exchange this afternoon:

British Airways to make 12,000 staff redundant

British Airways redundancy consultation

In light of the impact of COVID-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme. The proposals remain subject to consultation but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.

As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.

[…..]

Recovery to the level of passenger demand in 2019 is expected to take several years, necessitating Group-wide restructuring measures.

Here are extracts from a letter sent to staff by British Airways CEO Alex Cruz:

We have informed the Government and the Trade Unions of our proposals to consult over a number of changes, including possible reductions in headcount. We will begin a period of consultation, during which we will work with the Trade Unions to protect as many jobs as possible. Your views matter and we will listen to all practical proposals.

The scale of this challenge requires substantial change so we are in a competitive and resilient position, not just to address the immediate Covid-19 pandemic, but also to withstand any longer-term reductions in customer demand, economic shocks or other events that could affect us. However challenging this is, the longer we delay difficult decisions, the fewer options will be open to us.

I want to pay tribute to the thousands of British Airways colleagues who are playing a vital role in the global response to the Covid-19 crisis. Whether you are supporting our repatriation flights or the transport of essential cargo; or one of the hundreds of colleagues volunteering with organisations such as the NHS, you have my sincere respect and thanks.

This has been a difficult message to write and one I never thought I would need to send. I know how tight-knit the BA family is, and how concerned you will be, not just for yourself but for your colleagues, too. We must act decisively now to ensure that British Airways has a strong future and continues connecting Britain with the world, and the world with Britain

The announcement coincided with the early release of IAG’s preliminary first quarter results. As you would expect given the current environment things are looking tough, although it is relatively pointless reading much into them.

The operating result before exceptional items was a loss of €535 million compared to a profit of €135 million last year. Exceptional items include fuel and foreign currency hedges which were ineffective and contributed a €1.3 billion charge to pre-tax profits.

What would a 25%-30% cut in staff numbers mean?

As the number of staff required to crew an aircraft are fixed, a 25%-30% cut in staff numbers – assuming an equal cut between office staff and crew – would mean a 25%-30% reduction in flights.

How this pans out remains to be seen.  British Airways would presumably leave either Gatwick or Heathrow Terminal 3 permanently, although it is unlikely that it could do both.

The current phasing out of the Boeing 747 fleet would free up some capacity, but there are outstanding orders to replace many of these.  Whether these can be cancelled or not is up for debate – you can be sure that Boeing and Airbus won’t be letting airlines off the hook easily. 

There is, quite simply, no easy option to remove this much capacity from the fleet in a logical way.  It could even be that larger aircraft such as the A380 fleet and Boeing 747 fleets become more important – not less – if airlines are forced to leave substantial numbers of seats empty.  There are a lot of discussions to be had.

PS.  If you think this is extreme, it may be not enough.  SAS announced today that it is making almost 40% – 5,000 – of its employees redundant.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a special sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (161)

  • Anna says:

    I can’t help thinking that BA might be in a better position if they had offered a much more reasonable voucher system from the outset instead of making it so restrictive. I’ve had about £3k in refunds now, but probably would have been happy with the promise of premium cabin flights regardless of award availability with a minimum 2 year expiry date.

  • Kevin says:

    My partner has worked for BA for 26 years. They have already received the outlining of what is to happen. All cabin crew will move to the much lower paid and worse conditions of a mixed fleet BA contract (losing around £800 a month in pay). BA have been trying to get rid of the old worldwide contracts for years and this is the perfect excuse. BA have already stated they are not applying to the government for help as they have around £8 billion. They aren’t asking for help as they want to see Virgin and others go bust so they can then corner the market. They are planning shrewdly for the long term. Remember BA is spainish owed by IAG and props up Iberia, Veuling and Aer Lingus, which are always in the red.

    • Rob says:

      We’re covering this tomorrow, it’s already written.

      • Shoestring says:

        ‘Spanish-owned’ is a strange way to look at it when most of the people who own IAG are British?

  • Alex Sm says:

    Your instinct didn’t let you down, Rob:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52489013

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.