British Airways reaches deal to cut 350 pilots

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HONG KONG (June 28): British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group, will cut 350 pilots and put another 300 in a “pool” for rehire when needed as part of a deal reached with cockpit crew, The Sun reported.

Most of the pilots facing compulsory redundancies worked from Gatwick airport in London, according to the report, which didn’t say where the information came from. Captains and first officers who are placed in the pool don’t currently have an aircraft to work on and will remain on half-pay, while all other operating flight crew will take a 15% pay cut for now, it said.

The carrier has been under fire from unions and members of Parliament over plans to eliminate 12,000 jobs, or about 30% of its staff. The UK’s Transport Committee accused the airline of using the crisis as an excuse to shed workers even as the government pays employee wages through a national furlough program. That drew a swift response from IAG chief executive officer Willie Walsh, who said, “British Airways is fighting for its survival.”

Like its peers, IAG has been ravaged by the effective shutdown of air travel brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is expected to result in US$84 billion (RM360.49 billion) of losses for global airlines in 2020. It has proposed a pay deal for its flight attendants that would guarantee 80% of current basic salaries while limiting the need for mass job cuts.