British Airways plans to cut 1,130 out of 4,346 pilot jobs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline said in a letter to unions dated 28 April, according to Reuters.
"In a short space of time the situation has significantly deteriorated. There are no clear signs of improvement in air passenger demand", the letter seen by Reuters reads.
According to the letter, the company may yet be forced to halt the few services still running from London Heathrow.
Jeffrey Price, an aviation expert and professor of aviation and airport security at Metropolitan State University of Denver, says that the British Airways' plans do not surprise him as "it was bound to happen" due to the pandemic.
"It was assumed all along that all of the airlines would be furloughing kind of workforce because of pandemic. The United States, the grant programs that our Congress has been passing trying to help the airline industry and all the industries, said that those loans they are giving to airlines and those grants have to keep staff till October. But many friends of mine with airlines such as Delta and United have already been told they they can expect the lay off to start in October, as soon as the government deadline is expired. And I've also said all along, as it happened after 9/11, is that airlines all take this opportunity to restructure. And it's a perfect opportunity for them to do that. Unfortunately, it's the cost of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people's jobs", Price explains.
On 28 April, the International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways announced that that the UK's flagship carrier could see up to 12,000 job losses as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Since the beginning of national lockdowns, airlines have witnessed the biggest ever drop in passenger demand caused by the restrictions imposed due the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Domestic and international travel has been halted due to the epidemiological situation, which has left most airlines in dire straits.
To date, more than 3.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 227,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.