British Airways’ CEO, Alex Cruz, has issued a stark warning regarding the severity of the coronavirus crisis. In an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, Alex Cruz said that the airline was facing “a crisis of global proportions like no other”.
The coronavirus epidemic has hit the aviation industry hard. While it was already struggling, the virus proved to be the final nail in the coffin for regional airline Flybe. However, even the largest airline groups are now facing tough times ahead. In an internal memo, the CEO of British Airways warned employees to expect grounded aircraft, job cuts, and canceled flights.
Serious measures being considered
It seems that the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on aviation should not be swept to the side or downplayed. In an internal note, the British Airways CEO called the situation worse than 9/11, the SARS outbreak, and the Global Financial Crisis.
British Airways is considering the measures that it will need to take in order to deal with the significant decrease in traffic as a direct result of the pandemic. Alex Cruz mentioned in the memo that the airline was currently more financially resilient than it had ever been before. However, he warned that, despite this, the airline was “under immense pressure”.
Job cuts and grounded aircraft
As part of the memo seen by the Financial Times, Alex Cruz warned employees to prepare for the situation to get worse before it gets better. He said:
“As a result, we are suspending routes and will be parking aircraft in a way that we have never had to do before. Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this for our company.”
In the memo, seen by Simple Flying, Cruz went on to add:
“To be frank, given the changing cirumstances, we can no longer sustain our current level of employment and jobs will be lost.”
However, it wasn’t initially clear how long such measures would need to be in place. Cruz added that this could be for a short period, or may last much longer. Much like the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, it is impossible to know exactly how long the situation will last, or how it will develop.
How are other airlines affected?
British Airways isn’t the only airline to be feeling the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, many airlines have been grounding aircraft and announcing job cuts, though thankfully some of these are temporary. IAG’s European rival, the Lufthansa Group, has been severely affected by the crisis.
So far, the Lufthansa group has already canceled some 23,000 flights in April and grounded over 150 aircraft. Some of these are parked in Frankfurt, with others parked at Berlin’s unfinished airport. With the announcement of the US travel ban, airlines such as Lufthansa are having to cancel many more flights. However, the exact figures for flights affected by the new US travel ban are currently unknown.
What do you make of the comments by British Airways’ CEO, Alex Cruz? Is the worst still yet to come? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.