British Airways to auction art collection to raise much-needed funds | British Airways

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British Airways is going to sell part of its famous art collection for the purpose of raising funds as it prepares to lay off thousands of employees.

The airline has hired art experts and plans to auction at least 10 major pieces, some worth more than £ 1 million.

BA’s art collection includes works by British artists such as Damien Hirst, Peter Doig, Anish Kapoor, Chris Ofili and Tracey Emin. Some have been exhibited at Waterside headquarters near Heathrow, but most of the 1,500 works in the collection are on the walls of its executive lounges.

However, with some analysts believing that the lucrative business travel market may never return to pre-crisis levels, trade fairs are likely to be more austere in the future.

According to the Evening Standard, Sotheby’s has evaluated a number of works held by BA for an imminent potential sale, with a piece by Bridget Riley – described by some as a masterpiece – likely to leave Heathrow’s executive lounge. BA and raise millions for the struggling airline. .

The move comes as the majority of BA’s fleet remains frozen due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the entire aviation industry facing an uncertain future.

Álex Cruz, general manager of the airliner, had promised to “take all possible steps to save money” when BA informed the unions that he was considering layoffs. The minimum consultation period for a maximum of 12,000 layoffs is June 15, which could allow the airline to start to lay off workers, although BA said it did not expect to do so on that date.

British Airways did not comment on the art sale, but a source said the airline was doing nothing to save money and jobs, and the idea was said to have been picked up by management after asking staff where to find savings.

Its owner group IAG recently said it burns cash at a rate of 30 million euros (£ 26.7 million) a day. Plans to restore many flights in July are currently under review as IAG attempts to overturn the government’s quarantine rules, which were introduced on Monday.

BA said, “We are taking action now to protect as many jobs as possible. The airline industry is facing the most profound structural change in its history, as well as a severely weakened global economy. “

The Unite union, one of three workers’ representatives from the BA, disputed the need for mass layoffs. Len McCluskey, the secretary general, said: “The company claims to be in financial trouble when BA’s Spanish parent company IAG still plans to spend nearly EUR 1 billion to buy another airline, Air Europa. “

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