BRITISH Airways began laying-off its cabin crew last night.
Bosses wrote to members of its younger ‘mixed fleet’ to stand down as it battles to survive.
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UK airlines have seen their schedules reduced by up to 95%, and BA boss Alex Cruz publicly painted a bleak future as coronavirus decimates travel plans.
Rachael Taylor, Head of Mixed Fleet, wrote to devastated new entrants: “As I am sure you are aware, the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are affecting us significantly. As a result of this we have taken the difficult decision to stand you down from your contract and the business. This is known as ‘lay-off’.
“We will do this by enacting the ‘lay-off’ and ‘short-time’ clause that sits within your contract.
“Lay-off is where you are temporarily not required to come to work so you will not continue flying duties as planned. “You will be laid off during this time, and the company will not be making any pension contributions during the lay-off period.
“Please note that you are still employed by British Airways and this should not be viewed as a dismissal in any way.”
Staff will be laid off from April 1, and is expected to last a minimum of four weeks.
Other crew are expected to be hit in coming days.
The letter concluded: “I want to assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly and I appreciate you will be very disappointed.”
Meanwhile BA’s remaining worldwide fleet has been kicking off about safety fears.
Senior crew yesterday wrote to BA’s overall crew boss Amy James, complaining about a perceived lack of care.
A letter shown to The Sun stated: “From the moment crew arrive at the car park our safety is being compromised – on the bus to Terminal 5, in the briefing room where we all sit shoulder to shoulder, on the crew transport to the hotel where we sit next to each other, in small galleys with our colleagues, and of course in the cabin where we have hundreds of passengers that we spend hours in contact with.”
It leaves the prospect of BA struggling to fill staff roles on remaining flights.
Aviation sources were last night predicting air space could be closed to commercial jets on March 29, grounding the aviation industry.
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