UK Premier Airline Carrier British Airways has announced it will suspend around 36,000 staff due to a lack of demand caused by the coronavirus crisis. Flights to and from Gatwick Airport and London City Airport have all been cancelled.
BA said it has reached a deal with the Unite union that will include the suspension of 80 per cent of its cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and those working at head office.
Crucially, however, no staff are expected to be made redundant as a result of the deal, which came after 10 days of intense talks.
Furloughed staff are expected to receive some of their wages through the government job retention scheme – which offers 80 per cent of someone’s average pay up to £2,500-a-month.
It came 48 hours after BA axed all its flights to and from Gatwick Airport as coronavirus continues to strangle the aviation industry – with BA expected flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 with a severely reduced schedule.
The airline has already mothballed many planes across its UK bases including London City Airport last week and Gatwick this week, with Bournemouth Airport looking like the Paris Air Show!
Furious customers who had booked with BA took to social media to complain in their hundreds as support staff for BA were deluged with refund demands which are taking up to two weeks to finalise.
One tweeted today: ‘Their customer service is non-existent and they are trying to hold onto the money that their customers work so hard for! This is a global pandemic that is affecting everyone. It’s been three weeks. That’s 21 days. I am in need of a refund not a voucher for another flight.’
Rebecca Eichler also took to social media and said: ‘My flight was cancelled and you have offered a full refund, which is only available by calling, but you are not accepting calls.’