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British Airways is reportedly considering grounding aircraft
and cutting jobs as a result of the coronavirus situation, according to a
leaked internal memo.
CEO Alex Cruz sent a video message to staff earlier today warning
that jobs would be impacted by the virus’s effect on the airline’s business. He
called the situation a “crisis of global proportions” worse than the SARS
outbreak of the early 2000s and 9/11, according to the BBC.
In the video, Cruz said: “We can no longer sustain our
current level of employment and jobs will be lost – perhaps for a short period,
perhaps longer term.”
BA said it is in talks with unions but gave no further
details on the potential scale of the cuts or plans to further reduce flights
in the coming weeks.
Cruz said BA is “parking aircraft in a way that we have
never had to before” as he told employees not to “underestimate the seriousness
of this for our company”.
The airline is one of many that has taken a financial hit
from the Covid-19 outbreak. It suspended flights to China and Italy, the two
worst-affected areas, in response to travel advice.
Norwegian said yesterday that it would be forced to make up
to half of its workforce temporarily redundant to combat the impact of the virus
after it announced 4,000 flight cancellations and the grounding of 40 per cent
of its long-haul fleet.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated
earlier this month that the outbreak could cost the global aviation industry up
to US$113 billion in a worst-case scenario.