In mid-March, the group – which owns Iberia, British Airways and Aer Lingus – had unveiled plans to cut three quarters of departures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, further deterioration in the market has seen new cuts implemented.
As a result, British Airways is making use of the Covid-19 job retention scheme on offer in the UK, with as many as 30,00 staff set to be furloughed. The carrier has reached an agreement with trade unions, GMB and Unite, to apply the scheme to cabin crew and ground-based employees this month and next.
Under this scheme, furloughed employees will receive 80 per cent of their base pay and of certain allowances. The agreement is subject to union ratification, British Airways added.
British Airways has also reached agreement with its 4,000 pilots to take four weeks of unpaid leave in April and May. IAG said its other airlines have received support from similar job retention and wage support schemes for more than 17,000 employees in Spain. The group said it was seeking similar support in Ireland.
A spokesman added that IAG continues to take every action to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow, and the group earlier cancelled a planned dividend for financial 2019.
A statement from British Airways explained: “Our colleagues have done a brilliant job keeping vital routes open to reunite customers with their families, and bring back supplies to our hospitals, factories and shops.
“But with the challenges of coronavirus, like many airlines, we have been in touch with colleagues to advise that we are implementing the furlough scheme to minimise the financial impact on them.”