British Airways boss defends virus job losses

A British Airways plane.
A British Airways plane.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz defended heavy job cuts at the airline after coronavirus decimated demand, declaring that customers were "still afraid of travelling".
  • "Covid has devastated our business, our sector. We're still fighting for our own survival," Cruz told lawmakers on the committee.
  • "This is an impossible situation. I am completely dedicated and focused on protecting those nearly 30 000 jobs of all those BA colleagues who will remain within the business, he said. 


British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz on Wednesday defended heavy job cuts at the airline after coronavirus decimated demand, declaring that customers were "still afraid of travelling".

Cruz was appearing at parliament's transport select committee one week after BA parent group IAG announced it would slash more flights because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and quarantine rules.

"Covid has devastated our business, our sector. We're still fighting for our own survival," Cruz told lawmakers on the committee.

"Last week we flew 187 000 passengers in and out of the UK. Same week the previous year (it was) under one million."

He said British Airways is operating around a quarter of its normal schedule, adding that "fewer flights means fewer people required to actually service them".

In response to the global health emergency, IAG embarked upon a massive jobs-slashing efficiency drive, in line with carriers like Air Canada, American Airlines and Lufthansa.

British Airways is currently in the process of axing 13 000 jobs or about one third of its workforce.

"As CEO of British Airways, I have to take responsibility. I cannot ignore the situation. I had to act incredibly fast," Cruz said on Wednesday.

"I deeply, deeply regret that way too many loyal and hardworking colleagues of mine are having to leave our business, and I understand why MPs are concerned."

He added: "This is an impossible situation. I am completely dedicated and focused on protecting those nearly 30 000 jobs of all those BA colleagues who will remain within the business.

"People are still afraid of travelling ... We don't see a short term coming-back of our passengers."

IAG forecasts that it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

BA pilots had meanwhile voted in July to accept a package including job and pay cuts aimed at avoiding even more redundancies.

Cruz revealed Wednesday that non-pilot unions representing other workers have also reached agreements with the airline, adding that no new contracts would be issued.

The group last week raised €2.74 billion to help it navigate through the Covid-19 crisis.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.13
-0.9%
Rand - Pound
19.86
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.06
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.92
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,814.47
-1.3%
Silver
26.96
-2.4%
Palladium
2,859.51
-2.8%
Platinum
1,215.34
-2.0%
Brent Crude
68.55
+0.3%
Top 40
61,529
+0.3%
All Share
67,424
+0.3%
Resource 10
71,663
+1.5%
Industrial 25
83,756
-0.5%
Financial 15
12,642
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 1421 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 3559 votes
My landlord refused
28% - 1891 votes
Vote