British Airways and its pilots have reached a deal to avoid mass layoffs. Amid the current crisis, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom has been working to come out of the other side stronger and prepared to deal with a reduced demand environment. As part of the deal, the pilots will see a temporary pay cut.
BA’s pilots accept the deal
The operator’s pilots have accepted a deal negotiated by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) and the airline. The agreement means that there will be a 20% temporary reduction in pay. This will reduce to 8% over two years and work up to a zero% decrease in the long-term.
While this helps save more jobs, British Airways will still have some redundancies. BALPA estimated there would be about 270 compulsory redundancies, but it expects the numbers to fall as mitigations take place.
In a statement viewed by Simple Flying, BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton stated the following:
“Our members have made a pragmatic decision in the circumstances but the fact that we were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies is bitterly disappointing.”
No mass fire and rehire
Earlier in this crisis, British Airways threatened to fire and rehire all of its 4,300 pilots. As part of this, there would have been 1,255 formal job losses. Meanwhile, the rest would have been rehired on a different contract.
British Airways and BALPA were locked in negotiations for quite some time as both tried to reach a deal that minimized adverse impacts on pilots while preserving BA’s ability to weather the crisis and come out of the other side. Both the airline and the pilots should be commended for reaching an agreement. As has been seen with other airlines, the lack of a deal can have some devastating consequences.
British Airways is preparing for the future
British Airways provided Simple Flying the following comment on the matter:
“This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone at British Airways and we are grateful to BALPA and our flight operations team for the work they have done to reach this agreement and save hundreds of jobs.”
As the airline navigates the current crisis, the company is not expecting a return to 2019 levels until at least 2023. In the meantime, the carrier is facing reduced travel demand, revenue at some of its lowest points in recent years.
In response, already, British Airways is ending its extra special all-business Airbus A318 flights between London-City and New York-JFK. At the same time, the airline is marshaling its long-haul widebodies– including the new 787-10s as temporary freighters, while retiring the Boeing 747s after 50 years of operations with the carrier, and, very recently, expanding leisure flights to the Caribbean.
Preserving most of these pilot roles will also allow British Airways to have some flexibility in the future. By maintaining most of its pilots on its payroll, the company could also take advantage of any quicker demand increases where the airline could restore more flights if recovery happens sooner rather than later– which would be suitable for both pilots and passengers.
Are you glad to see British Airways and its pilots reach an agreement? Let us know in the comments!