British Airways has announced a restructuring and redundancy programme is needed until travel returns to 2019 levels – which could take as long as three years according to some new forecasts.
The company is to let go of 12,000 jobs – almost a quarter of its entire work force.
The airline is also looking at its current fleet, especially the ageing 747’s and some of the older 772’s. Retirements will be subject to close review but seem inevitable.
There is concern even for the A380’s but these are all owned by the airline and they tend to serve Heathrow to major hubs where demand is strong, although it seems unlikely they’ll be high on the list of aircraft that return to service until 2021.
The advantage of them is that they can carry 420 passengers, on a single flight per day while demand is low, rather than operate several smaller aircraft, especially on routes like JFK and LAX where two to six flights a day have been normal.
In any event, BA is expected to have to take a radical look at its operations and the likely demand will be almost impossible to model for the first few months. heavy losses will be inevitable.
What will upset customers is if BA returns to its savage accountant driven service levels of the recent past. It’s literally only just started to return those to anything like what many customers considered good enough for the money. This will very much depend on how high demand is and wether or not there is any competition – such as Virgin Atlantic, left to fight for available customers.