09:15 GMT09 August 2020
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    Airlines have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent collapse in tourism and international travel. Companies that have long been considered national assets are now desperately trying to survive the economic shock.

    British Airways (BA) is selling off some of its multi-million-pound art collection to raise money amid its poor economic performance throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

    The 17-pieces owned by Britain's flag-carrying airline will be sold at auction house Sotheby's and are estimated to be worth around £1.4 million in total. 

    “During this unprecedented time we have made the decision to work with Sotheby’s, one of the world’s leading and most trusted auction houses, to sell a number of pieces by artists including Bridget Riley and Damien Hirst", said Carolina Martinoli, BA’s director of brand and customer experience.
    “We look forward to them finding new homes with this sale".

    The collection features art by Damien Hirst and Peter Doig but the most expensive piece - Bridget Riley's 'Cool Edge' - is reported to be worth more than £1m alone.

    The sale comes as the airline and the wider industry are being drastically hit by the coronavirus pandemic. BA announced in April that it intended to lay off thousands of workers as the company struggles to cope with falling demand.

    In March, the airline CEO, Alex Cruz, warned that the companies survival was at stake if the business was not significantly restructured.

    The financial shock results from BA being forced to ground the majority of its aircraft for several months due to widespread restrictions on international travel.

    Other airlines have also had to make desperate moves to remain afloat during the pandemic. Struggling Virgin Atlantic is looking to secure a £1 billion bailout package, which will include an out-of-pocket cash injection from founder Richard Branson.

    In May, supercar maker McLaren was reportedly considering selling its £250 million classic car collection to secure its financial wellbeing during the global crisis.

    Related:

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    British Airways Plans to Cut Pilot Jobs by Almost 25%
    British Airways Threatens Legal Action Against Government Quarantine Plan
    Tags:
    coronavirus, COVID-19, British Airways, collection, Art
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