British Airways is reportedly expected to suspend 36,000 employees after grounding most of its fleet due to the coronavirus outbreak. The IAG-owned company has suspended its operations at Gatwick and London City Airport and the decision of suspension of employees will reportedly affect the staff at both locations.
The coronavirus has hit hard the aviation sector as several countries have ordered a nationwide lockdown and prohibited fight operations. With uncertainty around the immediate future of the sector, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has urged the government to urgently disclose the support it is planning to offer to aviation throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Virgin Atlantic, Loganair, and EasyJet have been calling for urgent government support and reports of FlyBe to go bankrupt in the near future has triggered anxiety in the aviation sector. EasyJet has already announced the grounding of its entire fleet and rest of the airlines have heavily scaled-down the flying operations due to collapse in demand.
BALPA said in a statement that airlines need the information on the government support immediately as they are taking drastic action due to the global travel restrictions. The association said that aviation was at the forefront of the coronavirus impact, yet airlines are still waiting for help from the Government despite repeated promises of action.
“We saw the impact that coronavirus had on Flybe and predicted then that other airlines would suffer severely if no help was offered. The Government promised that it would implement bespoke packages of support for the aviation industry, but where are they?” asked BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton.
Strutton said that the aviation sector was thriving before the coronavirus crisis and will be vital to the country’s economic recovery when the virus abates. He warned that the industry will not be there will be a need if the government doesn’t offer support immediately.
“Airlines have done what they can to mitigate the effect of having almost no revenue for the summer, their key earning period, as they were asked to do. Now the Government needs to fulfil its promise to help before it is too late,” said Strutton.
(Image: Twitter / British_Airways)