British Airways is deploying its employees to the front lines of the battle against coronavirus in the UK. The airline has set up a company-wide taskforce of employees who have a variety of skills to offer charities, non-profit organizations, and the NHS.
Many airlines have had to furlough thousands of employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Passenger numbers have been decimated and even the most profitable airlines are now racking up huge losses.
British Airways announced earlier in the week that it would be avoiding the mass lay-offs many had feared. Although British Airways will not be making any employees redundant for the time being, the airline will be forced to furlough up to 80% of its workforce, around 36,000 employees from across the business.
Redeployed to the front line
On Thursday, British Airways revealed that it will be assisting the ongoing efforts against coronavirus in the UK with its own special taskforce. The taskforce consists of volunteer employees from many different sectors of British Airways’ business, including cabin crews and logistics teams.
Discussing the airline’s taskforce, British Airways’ Director of External Communications and Sustainability, Louise Evans, said:
“We’ve had an overwhelming response to our request for volunteers from across British Airways to help in the community fight against coronavirus.”
British Airways employees have many different skills and qualifications between them, which make them a valuable resource in the fight against coronavirus which continues up and down the UK.
What can British Airways staff bring to the table?
Airlines have a very diverse selection of employees in comparison to most other businesses. Cabin crews are all trained in first aid and are used to dealing with customers in potentially high-stress situations, making them a great fit for volunteer positions in the NHS. The NHS has set up the Helpforce team, which organizes volunteers looking to aid the NHS during this difficult time. Additionally, employees with first aid training will help St John Ambulance as they respond to medical emergencies, and may help out in 999 call centers.
Meanwhile, many employees involved in the logistical side of British Airways’ operations have skills which could be put to good use in the transport, procurement, and management of medical supplies and consumables.
British Airways employees who normally work in customer-facing roles will be encouraged to help charities like Age UK in their efforts to reach out to older, more isolated individuals who may be struggling during the lockdown.
Support from the CEO
Yesterday, British Airways’ CEO, Alex Cruz, posted his own thank you message on LinkedIn, praising the efforts of British Airways staff as their volunteer efforts get underway.
“Our British Airways team, incredible! Whilst a few of us are working, 1000s of BA colleagues are supporting the NHS, emergency services, British Red Cross, etc…,” Cruz said on his personal LinkedIn account.
With such a large number of employees currently furloughed, it looks like airlines are in a perfect position to help out in the fight against coronavirus.