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British Airways places all managers on furlough from Monday

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British Airways has announced additional measures today to conserve revenue in the face of continued Government restrictions on outbound travel.

From next Monday, according to an email sent to staff today by Mel Birch, BA’s Director of Heathrow, ALL managerial staff at Heathrow (including, ironically, Birch herself) will be placed on full or flexi furlough.

It has since emerged that ALL British Airways managerial staff, whether they work at Heathrow or not, are in the same position.

Staff have also been told that all British Airways projects at Heathrow will be halted as part of a need to conserve cash unless:

  • they “deliver instant revenue”
  • deliver cost savings
  • are operationally critical

“Everything else will be stopped” according to the email circulated this morning.

Heathrow employees working ‘on the floor’ have been given an email address and telephone number to contact if they need to speak to a manager from Monday.

In a statement to HfP, British Airways said:

“Like many companies we’re using the furlough scheme to protect jobs during this unprecedented crisis. However, it’s vital the Government follows its risk-based framework to re-open international travel as soon as possible, putting more low-risk countries, like the US, on its green list at the next available opportunity.”


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Comments (86)

  • Paul says:

    Happening across most departments – not just the Heathrow operation.

  • KP says:

    BA getting back at the government? “If you can’t let have passengers travel to green list countries… fine… but pay for our staff then” !! Loving it !!

    • John says:

      “Loving it”?
      Tax payers will be paying

      • ChrisC says:

        BA also pays tax.

        And no flights = no revenue = no profits = no corporation tax

        And no flights also means no APD coming into the Treasury either.

      • meta says:

        I’d rather pay for that as that means less money for BJ&his gangsters and their mates however minuscule this might be in the end.

    • Rhys says:

      It is, and to be honest, I think they should. The government has been very unscientific in its travel policy and travel companies have been paying the price. Off all the industries, travel has had the rug pulled from under the most.

      There’s no reason why the green list can’t be used in a productive and safe way. Despite the slight increase in cases, vaccinations are working (even Hancock said as much!) and yet the government makes it sound as if we are about to hit another brick wall.

      Meanwhile the government’s consistently inconsistent travel restrictions are playing havoc with the airlines, hotels etc.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        I’m certainly no fan of the omnishambles with regard to travel influencing policy but it is a fight for who has had it the worse. Live entertainment would certainly be in the mix for ‘rug pulling’.

        • VickyTM says:

          Would totally agree that live events has been treated badly. Even after covid finishes, we have the kick in the teeth that is Brexit to deal with.

      • Callum says:

        The reason why they are being “inconsistent” is because people like yourself are constantly demanding that they disregard health policy to suit your own personal wants.

        If they didn’t attempt this system and instead said “no non-essential foreign trips indefinitely”, would you be praising their consistency or demanding they start tinkering with it to let you do things you consider low risk?

      • Alan says:

        Sadly admissions now up locally, people in their 20s and 30s, lots of disruption to schooling. I think they need to make vaccination available to book online (still letters in Scotland!) for everyone over 16. Also need to ramp up worldwide vaccination (500m extra doses announced the US recently a decent start but still a long way to go).

        • Steve says:

          My 26 year old daughter here in Scotland booked her jab online 2 days ago, and had the Pfizer jab at 09:00 this morning.

          It appears that things have improved fairly quickly with regard to online enabled bookings. This is in Grampian NHS region, so not sure if it is country wide yet. Good progress though.

  • Muhammad Abdullah says:

    Is this so interesting or unsurprising? If BA farts it gets a “news” story.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      It suggests a few things: they’re in la merde, they’ve all but lost a summer of revenue and will have to make a provision on the back of the CMAs refund repayment action; and BA have no expectation travel will return to normal any time soon, we’ll be stuck on our island for the foreseeable.

    • Dominic Barrington says:

      Curiously, this is a website devoted to travel, most principally to BA and its loyalty scheme. Most of us come here precisely because we want to know about each and every fart. The website for bee-keeping is next door, I think.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s a website devoted to travel who, unless truly exceptional or time critical stories come along, publish three articles a day in the early morning. Is this story exceptional or time critical? Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer articles were published as and when they were ready rather than waiting for the morning but that’s a decision Rob has made about the direction he wants the site to take. I can’t see why this story warrants breaking the mold.

        • Rob says:

          Because we got sent the internal BA email, which meant that no-one else had the story and we are 100% sure it stands up. We have publishing internal BA documents on covid, redundancies, wage cuts etc for the last 18 months – not sure why you’re getting annoyed now 🙂

          • WaynedP says:

            Thanks Rob, I’m glad to read it here first.

            Don’t want to become overly conspiratorial, but I can’t help thinking that either:

            1) It’s a public ratchetting up of BA’s irritation with the govt likely to get at least some public/press/TU sympathy and support
            2) BA now feels significantly more financially threatened than it did previously

            1) could benefit travellers by pushing govt to see sense on travel sooner and row back some restrictions
            2) could augur badly if BA knows or reasonably suspects something that we don’t.

          • Kevin B says:

            Glad to read it here first as well. Keep up the good work!

        • DT says:

          People so bored sitting at home that they’ve become grumpy and irritable, complaining about anything they can while they have nothing else of interest going on

      • Bagoly says:

        Similarly the Polish-German border is now open.
        I had my printed off my (2 jabs + 2 weeks) Covid passport, but there was no checking at the border in either direction.
        Germany still has FREE Covid tests (20 minutes turnaround) in every other supermarket carpark, which generate a certificate that can be used to get a Covid passport if not vaccinated.
        And dm, the equivalent of Boots, is charging EUR0.95.
        (Given the charges in the UK, I guess I need to point out that I have written that using an AngloSaxon decimal separator!)

        • Max says:

          German-Polish border like most other German borders has effectively been open for months now – even though official rules were sounding way more restrictive.

        • Bagoly says:

          This re Polish-German border was intended to be a reply to AndreasJ
          Rhys – can you move it? (and delete this request)

      • Bagoly says:

        +1

  • Lord Doncaster says:

    Did Señor ‘Slasher’ Cruz find a new job yet?

    • Journeying John says:

      The Finns didn’t want him but how the f**K did Willie “slasher” Walsh end up in charge of IATA?

      • Bagoly says:

        I thought that too – he presumably wants to dominate the (world) industry.

  • Greenpen says:

    Surprised at this announcement. I would have thought this would already have been the case. What have they all being doing for the past fifteen months?

    • Lord Doncaster says:

      Plotting the next great ‘enhancement’…BA has gone downhill since they removed Drambuie from the lounges #heathens

    • Rhys says:

      There was a lot of furlough over the winter but the start of the green list drew a lot of people back.

      Now that the government has decided it wants to decimate the green list it has to reverse tack.

    • Rob says:

      I am taking a wild guess that it does require some management presence at Heathrow even if its only for 30 flights per day.

      • Dominic Barrington says:

        I suspect that an element of this will that when an angry traveler demands to see a manager, they’ll be told there isn’t one and to take it up with HMG!

        • C says:

          BA must be joining the list of UK consumer facing businesses that make the frontline customer service staff the first, last and only word and threaten legal action against customers for suggesting that they should provide some accommodation for failing to provide contracted services. Just wait until HfP readers start posting about BA making counter-claims in response to all of those MCOL claims. Or else BA will join the legions of businesses (and government agencies!) that refer telephone calls to webchat, which then refers back to the telephone line, in circular manner, “due to COVID19 restrictions”. They must all be reading from the same script.

  • Craig says:

    I’m surprised that these and other staff weren’t on flexi furlough already considering the lack of flights, whist this may be a get back at government move, I think this just makes business sense, any business however big or small with lack of revenue should be looking at conserving costs where ever they can. If the traffic light system for travel continues over the summer then watch this space for further changes!

    • Rhys says:

      A lot of staff have been on furlough since December, but the start of the green list was seen as the start of an optimistic summer.

      The government shattered that illusion when it decided to remove Portugal and not add any other countries.

      • Yuff says:

        Shapps should be sacked, he’s worse than Williamson
        Seriously I didn’t think they could make this worse than it already was but they have……..

        • Doommonger says:

          Two ministers that WILL be sacked are; George Eustice, he’s pro badger culling and pro farmers, and Carrie doesn’t like that. Secondly, Williamson coz Carrie doesn’t like him and also because he’s useless. You heard it here first !!

          Ministers that should be sacked but wont be. It’s a long list, but chief amongst them Shapps, Patel, Jenrick and Hancock.

          The Doomster

          • Paul Pogba says:

            They’re all useless, up to and including Johnson and the really depressing part is there isn’t anyone obviously better.

      • TomH says:

        Portugal’s sudden reversal without use of the wait list has certainly reduced my keenness to pre-plan a trip. Have already had two trips booked in the last year cancelled by BA, and I don’t want the mental load of booking again until things are more certain – holidays are meant to be fun!

      • Andrew says:

        With Europe about to open up to each other I really hope that our government’s stance on travel changes very soon. We (rightly) made a big fuss about how much better our vaccine rollout was going compared to Europe so we’ll start to look very silly very soon when EU citizens are travelling on holidays but we’re told we can’t because it’s too dangerous.

        • Yuff says:

          I’m extremely irritated by the incompetence of the government listed test providers as I want mrs yuff and our daughter doing a test to release tomorrow.
          Clowns at TT diagnostics still haven’t got the results back to us yet so pointless booking the TTR test which I want in person for obvious reasons.
          If mallorca is still amber when I come back there is no way I’ll be opening myself to dealing with these clowns

        • AndreasJ says:

          It’s already happening in Europe. I live in Spain, the Costa Brava is already seeing its fair share of French, Dutch, Germans, Belgians, Swiss…

          • Jk says:

            All my colleagues in Europe are travelling for holidays now. Europe no problem. Dubai no problem. Like Andrew says, we’ve gone from crushing it to looking stupid and scared.

  • Cath says:

    I wonder what other staff benefits will be affected in the future – pensions, travel are some areas which could be looked at carefully.

  • Paul says:

    How are Virgin Atlantic getting on? Their position was delicate and much publicised a year ago, however they seem to be quietly plodding along now….

    • The cyclist says:

      Virgin doing lots of cargo.

      • 1ATL says:

        A lot of cargo that doesn’t require many ground/cabin crew. They’re operating with a hardcore of 520 cabin crew at the moment. The rest remain on full or part time furlough and when that ends they’ll continue onto the cabin crew rentention scheme for a set period. When that ends they’ll be made redundant.

      • kitten says:

        Yup. Virgin runs 2 planes every single night (well, 4/5 days-week) flying one behind the other over my house – one to Abuja, one to Lagos. Often followed within a few minutes by BA to Joburg. All freight bar a few seats to JNB I suspect. It’s amazing how noisy a 777 at 38,000 feet still is.

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