‘British Airways today revealed coronavirus is threatening its very survival as staff were told there will be job cuts and aircrafts must be mothballed because of the ‘worsening’ worldwide pandemic.
Chief Executive Alex Cruz has written to all 45,000 workers saying the virus’ relentless spread is a crisis ‘of global proportions like no other we have known’, more serious than the 2008 financial crash, SARS or 9/11.
Mr Cruz warned people would be put out of work and planes would be grounded ‘like we’ve never had to do before’ and urged: ‘Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this for our company’ in a message entitled ‘the survival of British Airways’.
Yesterday Norwegian Air said it would lay off around half of its 11,000 staff and cancel 4,000 flights as it struggles to stay afloat – but BA has yet to say how many workers they will let go.
Mr Cruz claims that BA, which along with Iberia and Aer Lingus is owned by the IAG Group, is more resilient ‘than ever before’ – but the airline was under ‘immense pressure’ and would ‘have to react fast and definitively in response to the worsening situation’, he said.
His letter to staff was leaked this afternoon – but despite the bad news it contained shares in BA’s parent company jumped upwards five per cent this afternoon as investors reacted positively to news that the airline would be cutting costs. Although IAG’s stock price has fallen by 42 per cent in the last month.
The world’s airlines are ‘switching to survival mode’ as the travel industry buckles under the weight of the coronavirus outbreak – just eight days since the collapse of British regional carrier Flybe who also blamed coronavirus for its demise.
Heathrow also saw a 4.8 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger numbers in February due to coronavirus, it has also emerged, with airport terminals across the UK exceptionally empty today.’
Read more: British Airways in battle for ‘survival’ over coronavirus: BA boss tells his 45,000 staff the economic impact will be ‘more serious than the financial crisis, SARS or 9/11’ and warns of job losses