The airline industry is one of the hardest hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, globally.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry was estimated to have lost between $63 billion and $113 billion worth of revenue as at March 5, 2020, due to reduced numbers of flights.
This will be further compounded by a slump in demand as a result of total lockdowns, and travel restrictions that are being implemented across countries globally.
British Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, and some other airlines are still operating rescue flights in order to bring some British citizens back home.
According to a monitored report from Reuters, the flagship carrier is in negotiation with its union to suspend about 32,000 staff. This was disclosed by an insider who has knowledge of the situation. It is one of the measures outlined for the airline’s survival through the pandemic.
British Airways and the union are finalizing a deal for the suspension of about 80% of the cabin and ground crew members, engineers, and office staff in order to survive the worst crisis in its history. It can be recalled that they had already agreed on a 50% pay cut for its pilots previously.
The British government had earlier said that it would not give any financial aid to the aviation industry, but had a scheme that would help airlines raise capital and also subsidize wages for their employees, through the Bank of England.
However, U.S. airlines are set to receive $25 billion in grants to cover payrolls over the next six months, as they are trying to avoid declaring their staff redundant so they can respond quickly to emergencies, or any increase in capacity when a recovery comes.
It should also be noted that just a few days ago, British Airways suspended flights from Britain’s second busiest airport, Gatwick and London’s city airport.