British Airways is expected to announce the suspension of approximately 36,000 workers as it fights to survive the coronavirus crisis.
The airline has entered into a general agreement with the Unite union, which provides for the suspension of 80% of its cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and those working at head office.
Crucial however, no employee should be fired as a result of the agreement, which came after ten days of intense discussions, according to the BBC.
The airline cut all flights to and from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday as COVID-19 continues to strangle the aviation industry.
The airline, which jets to Europe, America and the Caribbean from West Sussex Airport, has already shelved many planes on its British bases, including London City Airport – but still operates from London Heathrow with a greatly reduced schedule.
He is also one of the airlines assisting in the repatriation of Britons stranded abroad following the pledge of Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to set aside £ 75 million to help bring people home.
Affected staff are expected to receive part of their salary through the government’s job retention program – which provides 80% of an average person’s salary up to £ 2,500 per month.
British Airways planes were parked at Bournemouth Airport after the airline suffered a massive drop in demand due to the coronavirus crisis
British Airways check-in area considered empty at Gatwick Airport as spread of coronavirus continues
Two weeks ago, British Airways admitted that the coronavirus was threatening its very survival, as staff were informed that there would be layoffs and that the planes should be put on hold due to the worsening of the global pandemic (Alex Cruz, President and CEO of British Airways, poses for a photo with British Airways Staff last year)
BA’s decision to close its Gatwick operation came hours after easyJet immobilized its entire fleet of 330 aircraft and became the first British airline to stop all operations.
On Wednesday, the Gatwick North Terminal closed, the South Terminal operating from 2 pm and 10 pm to cut costs, which means that most airport staff will be on leave.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SYSTEM?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary program open to all UK employers for at least three months. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can use a portal to claim 80% of the regular monthly salary costs of employees on leave, up to £ 2,500 per month. Employers can use this program at any time during this period.
The plan is open to all UK employers who had created and launched a PAYE pay plan on February 28, 2020.
To be eligible for the grant, while on leave, an employee cannot undertake work for or on behalf of the organization. This includes the provision of services or the generation of income.
While on leave, the employee’s wages will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.
Those not on leave, such as call center staff and those involved in live operations, will remain fully paid after the talks.
A source told The Sun: “The negotiations have been difficult, but BA and the union recognize that this is an unprecedented period.”
The deal has not yet been fully signed, but it is believed to happen early Thursday morning. An airline spokesperson told MailOnline, “Discussions are continuing.”
With future reservations canceled at this time, airlines such as British Airways have lost large sums of money.
A British Airways spokesman declined to say how many of its workers’ jobs are at risk when asked earlier this week, but said, “Due to the considerable restrictions and the difficult market environment, Like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flight schedule to Gatwick. We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options. “
Two weeks ago British Airways has admitted that the coronavirus is threatening its very survival, as staff have been informed that there will be job cuts and that the planes should be put on hold due to the worsening of the global pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz wrote to 45,000 workers saying that the incessant spread of the virus is a crisis “on a global scale like we have never known before”, more serious than the financial crash of 2008, SARS or September 11.
But the CEO of its parent company, IAG, Willie Walsh, also stressed that he had not asked for a government bailout and insisted that IAG was “resilient with a strong balance sheet”, adding that he there is “no guarantee that many European airlines will survive”.
British Airways planes are parked in a row at Gatwick Airport. Airline cut all flights to and from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday as COVID-19 continues to strangle the aviation industry
BA is one of many countries that must stop serving the UK’s second busiest airport due to the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline will maintain equipment at the airport for essential functions, such as maintenance, towing and cleaning, to enable it to quickly restart operations.
Only 33 flights were scheduled to take off or land at West Sussex Airport on Tuesday, according to aeronautical data provider FlightStats.
As of Wednesday, the Gatwick runway was only open for scheduled flights between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The airport has also closed one of its two terminals.
How coronavirus has affected UK airlines in the past month
Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, causing 2,400 job losses and leaving around 15,000 passengers stranded in the UK and Europe. The owners of Flybe, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart group and hedge fund company Cyrus Capital, accused the coronavirus of precipitating the collapse of the sick airline. Flybe operated up to 50 routes in the UK, accounting for 40% of all domestic flights, and was used by 9.5 million passengers per year.
British Airways: International Airlines, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75% reduction in passenger capacity for two months, the boss Willie Walsh admitting that there were no guaranteed that many European airlines would survive. “.
easyJet: The airline, which has 9,000 employees based in the United Kingdom, including 4,000 cabin crew members, makes available on March 30 its entire fleet of 344 aircraft. required.
Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it intends to ask the government for a rescue plan to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Loganair will go to government despite the fact that finance minister Rishi Sunak told him last week that airlines should exhaust all other funding options before asking for help.
Jet2: The low-cost airline suspended all flights from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights flipped earlier this month on their way to Spain when a blockade was announced in the country.
Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have cut its lights by 80% by March 26, and that figure will drop to 85% by April. He also urged the government to provide carriers with up to £ 7.5 billion in emergency credit facilities.
Ryanair: More than 90% of the Irish airline’s planes are now immobilized, with the rest of the plane on repatriation and rescue flights.
The measures will be in place for at least one month.
Airports are responding to airlines’ decision to suspend the majority of their flights due to falling demand and countries around the world introducing travel restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
London City Airport closed its runway to all commercial and private flights last week, while Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
IAG recently announced that three-quarters of the flights will be discontinued in the next two months, also said it is “taking steps to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow.”
These include temporarily suspending employment contracts, reducing working hours and offering staff leave without pay.
The group, which also owns Iberia and Vueling, employs 66,000 people.
Airlines are temporarily laying off tens of thousands of unpaid workers.
Amid warnings of an industry collapse in weeks, BA IAG owner, EasyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian have all revealed drastic plans to cut costs and ground theft.
Virgin Atlantic said staff have agreed to take eight weeks of unpaid leave over the next three months, with wages taken from workers’ wages for six months to keep their earnings from drying up.
The 10,000 employees of the company, founded and controlled by Richard Branson, will also be offered voluntary redundancy.
A sign of the magnitude of the coronavirus crisis, the airlines are supported by the Unite union and the Balpa pilots’ association.
The most extreme measures have been taken by Norwegian, which is Gatwick’s third largest airline. It temporarily fires some 7,300 people, or 90% of its workforce.
The debt-stricken airline has lost more than 80% of its market value since the start of the year.
EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou yesterday justified the decision to pay a dividend of 174 million pounds sterling to shareholders, including around 60 million pounds sterling to his family, just ten days before he died. ” immobilized all its 330 aircraft.
EasyJet founder billionaire Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (pictured in Monaco where he lives) received a £ 60m dividend from the struggling firm ten years ago. He immobilized all his planes on Tuesday and the personnel on leave
Why do flights always land in Britain from coronavirus hotspots, including Italy, the United States and Spain?
Flights still land in Britain from coronavirus hotspots, including Italy, the United States, and Spain.
Passengers landed at London Heathrow this morning on planes like Rome on Alitalia, New York on United Airlines and Madrid on Iberia.
Flights from America also brought passengers to London earlier this week from other US cities, including Atlanta and Boston on British Airways, and Dallas on American Airlines.
While passengers arriving on flights from affected countries are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, there is no way to do this and no health checks are carried out at UK airports .
There is a split in cabinet over whether the borders of the UK should be closed to prevent people from getting virus hot spots.
Interior Minister Priti Patel wants to prevent passengers from flying to the United Kingdom from countries with high infection rates such as Iran, the United States and China.
Patel says flights from virus hotspots should not be allowed when the country is locked to prevent its spread.
The absence of a travel ban in the UK contrasts sharply with the policies of the EU and the United States which have closed their borders to travelers from many other countries.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Minister Dominic Raab want to keep the borders open, in part to allow stranded Britons to return home.
The Luton-based airline employs 9,000 people and is the first in the UK to stop all flights and put all planes under control since the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.
Sir Stelios said dividends, now controversial, were agreed in February when “the world looked like a much happier place” and the money was “automatically” paid to shareholders on March 20 and it was “impossible to stop ”.
In an extraordinary statement, the billionaire also said that calls to return the money to him were “naive” and “malicious”, adding easyJet “is not a charity”.
The grounding of the huge easyJet fleet came just days after applying for a state loan to help them survive.
Justifying the payment of £ 170 million, Sir Stelios, who along with his brothers and sisters are the largest individual shareholders of the carrier with a 34% stake, insisted that the dividends were “legal” and “legitimate” .
He said, “The reality of the situation is that the dividend was legally at the point of no return on February 6 or no later than February 27, 2020. The world looked like a much happier place on February 6 and the dividend was legitimately paid to all shareholders.
In a long statement, he said the payments could not have been stopped.
He said: “The March 20 dividends have already paid us automatically through a complex network of bank accounts where the shares are held and it is impossible to stop them for some shareholders but not for others.”
Sir Stelios is threatening to demand the dismissal of the members of the board unless the airline withdraws from a contract with Airbus to supply 107 planes which it claims will cost £ 4.5 billion.
In his statement earlier this week, he said reporters who asked if he would pay his dividend were “naive / malicious”, adding: “Am I puzzled as to how it would work?”, Adding: “To use how? Pay this money directly to Airbus? And what is the consideration for such a gift? Or is it a selfless charitable donation? Charity to what deserving cause exactly? easyJet is not a registered charity for donations, nor is Airbus. This is not how publicly traded companies work. “
EasyJet planes are seen stranded at Edinburgh Airport this morning as all flights over 1,000 are closed for at least two months
EasyJet immobilized its entire fleet of more than 330 aircraft while the coronavirus continued to injure British airlines.
Stelios fights Easyjet against 4.5 billion euros in aircraft
The founder of Easyjet went to war with the struggling airline over plans to spend £ 4.5 billion on airplanes.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, 53, said the company should not seek a government bailout and urged him to abandon his order for aircraft with Airbus.
In an ultimatum to the Easyjet board of directors, he threatened to launch a campaign to overthrow a director every seven weeks, unless the bosses comply.
Easyjet immobilized its entire fleet yesterday due to the coronavirus crisis, effectively leaving it with no source of income. The airline and its competitors have held talks with the government on possible taxpayer-funded loans to help them avoid collapse.
The company serves 159 airports and 1,051 routes and has 9,000 employees based in the United Kingdom, including 4,000 flight attendants.
The company has worked with the Unite union to agree on a two-month leave arrangement for cabin crew, which means staff will receive 80% of their average salary up to £ 2,500 per month as part of of the government’s job retention program.
Virgin Atlantic will apply to the UK government for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of commercial loans and guarantees, the Financial Times reported.
Other carriers, including airlines such as Loganair and Eastern Airways, as well as Norwegian Air Shuttle, are also considering requesting state aid, the newspaper added.
But British ministers want larger airlines with wealthy shareholders to weather the storm without needing billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars.
The Luton-based carrier said the measure “removes significant costs” as the aeronautics industry struggles to cope with a collapse in demand caused by the virus epidemic.
British Airways and other airlines have assisted in the repatriation of Britons from abroad.
Relieved passengers burst into applause after a British Airways repatriation flight from Peru landed in Gatwick on Tuesday morning – but travelers say they were “left in the dark” by the Department of Foreign Affairs whether or not to isolate yourself.
The flight was one of two BA flights that took off from Lima on Monday evening and arrived safely in the UK on Tuesday morning.
Social media footage showed appreciation for stranded Britons who started cheering when they landed on British soil.
Passengers who traveled on a repatriation flight from Peru arrive at Gatwick Airport in Sussex as the government continues to help tens of thousands of Britons stranded abroad by the coronavirus pandemic
Britain’s ambassador to Peru, Kate Harrisson, said it had evacuated more than 1,000 British nationals from the country.
Tens of thousands of Britons are still stranded worldwide due to the closure of the coronavirus in countries like India, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand.
This prompted Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to announce yesterday that £ 75 million will be set aside for charter flights to bring the stranded Britons back to areas where the trade routes were no longer in use.
“It’s weird, I burst into tears as I crossed – we’ve been trying to get home for so long,” said Alice Nuttall, 21, of Nantwich.
“We assume, because we had to fill in our details on this form … that we will be contacted regarding [coronavirus]. ‘
“The government has told us that we have to pay £ 250 for the repatriation flight.”
“They didn’t really advise us on anything else, we weren’t screened or anything,” added his friend Ellie Durrant, 22.
Nuttall’s father John Nuttall, 56, said that women and their families would take “reasonable” steps following the advice of Public Health England.
“They will self-isolate for 14 days and will obviously follow the rest of the government’s advice,” he said.
Relatives gathered at international arrivals in the terminal, now a distance of two meters, but many kissed their relatives as they walked through the door.
Passengers who traveled on a repatriation flight from Peru arrive today at Gatwick Airport
A Twitter user named Mark posted a short video showing people cheering when they landed in Gatwick today
Other travelers said they were disappointed to have been forced to return early and said they had received no clear instructions or additional precautions after returning to the UK.
“It’s a little strange to be home – I expected to travel another two and a half months,” said 18-year-old Anna-Lucia Strike from Chiswick, west London.
“No one told me what to do next. I know the rules that are here in the UK, but other than that, we haven’t been told anything more.
“We were left in the dark enough,” said Drew Jones, 27, of Essex.
“We go straight into isolation, I think, we don’t really have much to do at home or at work … totally mixed emotions.
Kate Harrisson, British Ambassador to Peru, said: “With the departure of 2 other BA aircraft today (5 since Wednesday), we have enabled the evacuation of more than 1,000 British nationals, approximately 160 Irish nationals and d ” a range of EU nationals in less than one week.
“I want to thank my team for making this possible. An effort more than stellar.
Families criticize travel agencies as they fight to get their money back for Easter holidays canceled due to coronavirus, while tourism bosses call on government to drop refund rules or risk ” catastrophic damage “to industry
By James Robinson for MailOnline
Pocket vacationers have scandalized social media after struggling to get reimbursed by two of Britain’s largest airlines.
BA and Easyjet passengers say they have been frustrated in their attempts to recover their flight costs after the two airlines made a series of cancellations this week due to the impact of the coronavirus.
A passenger says he made more than 100 phone calls to Easyjet, which announced Monday that it is immobilizing its entire fleet.
Another says he waited four hours waiting for the low-cost airline.
BA and Easyjet passengers say they were frustrated in trying to recover their flight costs after the two airlines made a series of cancellations this week
Luton-based low-cost airline Easyjet announced on Monday that it is immobilizing its entire fleet of planes due to the impact of the coronavirus on world travel
Passenger claims to have made more than 100 phone calls to Easyjet, while another claims to have waited four hours on hold
Other passengers say they simply could not reach someone from BA’s customer support teams
Twitter user Simon Calder took a light-hearted approach to the situation, complimenting the music on hold over the phone with Easyjet for almost two hours.
A Twitter user described his attempts to get a refund as “hitting a brick wall”, while a BA passenger, who suspended all flights from Gatwick Airport, described the offer as a “totally unacceptable” coupon.
But the plethora of complaints comes as travel industry leaders urge the government to suspend reimbursement rules or face “catastrophic damage to the UK travel industry”.
The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta), a travel industry organization, said the coronavirus pandemic had caused “financial pressure” on tour operators and travel agencies, which they said was “unmanageable for short term “.
Under current law, tour operators are required to reimburse customers within 14 days.
But Abta CEO Mark Tanzer says companies should have four months to process payments and calls on the government to make changes.
Speaking to the Guardian, he said, “These companies are waiting for hotel and airline refunds themselves, and without that money, they just can’t afford to reimburse customers.
“We want to avoid the scenario of successful travel companies employing tens of thousands of bankrupt people.”
Meanwhile, frustrated vacationers say they are struggling to get refunds from low-cost airline Easyjet.
The Luton-based company immobilized its entire fleet of planes on Monday due to a coronavirus, which killed more than 1,700 people and infected more than 24,000 in the UK.
Travel industry agency Abta said the coronavirus pandemic has caused “financial pressure” on tour operators and travel agencies, which they say is “unmanageable in the short term”
Easyjet is not the only airline to be impacted. BA suspended all flights to and from Gatwick Airport this week following the coronavirus pandemic
The airline has not given a resumption date.
After the announcement, passengers searched the website and phones for a refund, which sparked a series of complaints from those who have so far been unsuccessful.
Twitter user Donna Short said, “Be frustrated with Easyjet now.
“I know the lines are busy, but every time I speak, I say” to save you from waiting in the queue, please call again later “and cut yourself off.
Another said, “Come on Easyjet, you know you’re better than that.
“Make it easier for people to get their money back and you will reap the benefits at the end.”
She added, “Do the right thing. “
British Airways, which suspended all flights to and from London Gatwick Airport amid a collapse in demand due to the coronavirus this week, was also caught in the Twitter storm.
Easyjet indicates that customers can transfer free of charge to another flight or receive a voucher for the value of their online reservation or request a refund via its contact center
BA says customers with canceled flights can choose a new flight date, take a voucher, or request a refund
BA says it faces “unprecedented challenges” when it comes to the number of requests, while Easyjet says customers have longer than average wait times
Helen Georgiou said, “I canceled two flights.
“I had heard nothing from BA regarding a refund.
“I had to follow up on a complaint to receive a response a week later, in one case, to be told that they would issue a travel voucher, not a refund.”
Can I get my money back for a trip or vacation canceled due to a coronavirus?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises against travel abroad.
Currently, this notice is in effect until April 16.
This means that all travel agents and airlines are legally required to reimburse you.
As an alternative, they can also allow you to book your flight or vacation for a later date or offer you a voucher covering the cost of your flight or vacation.
Another said: “BA has given me the opportunity to postpone my trip, which I do not feel at the moment.
“Can they cancel it and refund my money? I am too upset to choose another date. ‘
BA says customers with canceled flights can choose a new flight date, take a voucher, or request a refund.
But the company said it was facing “unprecedented challenges” in terms of the number of requests.
An Easyjet spokesperson said in a statement, “Customers of canceled flights can either transfer to another flight for free or receive a voucher for the value of their reservation online or request a refund through our contact center.
“We have above average wait times, so we thank customers for their patience and assure them that these rights will be available well after the canceled flight.
“For customers whose flights are not canceled but wish to switch to a later date, they can modify their flight online without modification fees and we have advanced our winter schedule for sale so that customers have more choices for move their flights until February 28, 2021. “