British Airways is set to lose up to 12,000 workers, parent company IAG has announced.
The airline, which employs 42,000 people, has been crippled by the coronavirus crisis which has caused a global collapse in passenger numbers.
Nine out of 10 flights have been grounded since the UK went into lockdown.
IAG announced the planned job cuts as it revealed revenues plunged 13 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
It said it will take “several years” until demand for air travel returns to 2019 levels.
In a letter to staff, BA chief executive Alex Cruz wrote: “In the last few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now.
“We are a strong, well-managed business that has faced into, and overcome, many crises in our hundred-year history.
“We must overcome this crisis ourselves, too.
“There is no government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely.
“We will see some airlines go out of business.”
Around 4500 pilots and 16,000 cabin crew work for BA.
IAG did not provide a breakdown of how many people in what roles could be made redundant.
In a statement, IAG said: “In light of the impact of COVID-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme.
“The proposals remain subject to consultation but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.
“As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK’s COVID-19 job retention scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.”
Last week Which? revealed travel firms and airlines, including British Airways, were breaking the law by delaying refunds for trips cancelled due to the pandemic.
Some firms are refusing to provide refunds in a breach of their legal obligations, while others are offering vouchers or credit instead.
Passengers are due a refund within seven days if a flight with an airline based in the UK or EU, or from an airport in the UK or EU, is cancelled.
A spokesman for BA said customers “should call us to discuss their options”, adding: “They can rebook, refund or choose to take a voucher to fly at a later date. Refunds can be requested at any point up to 12 months after the start date of the journey.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission