British Airways staff have been warned by their CEO that the airline’s survival is at stake.
“Please don’t underestimate the seriousness of this for our company,” said Alex Cruz in an internal video message.
He told staff that the coronavirus crisis was more serious than September 11, the outbreak of Sars or the financial collapse of 2009 – a “crisis of global proportions like no one else we have known”.
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As a result, he said, BA is “suspending the routes and will park the aircraft in a way we have never had to do before”.
“We can no longer sustain our current employment levels,” said Cruz.
British Airways achieves a substantial portion of its revenue from transatlantic flights, particularly in the premium classes. While the UK is excluded from U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on European visitors, it has been extremely impressed by the collapse of business travel and the drying up of new leisure bookings.
BA’s revenues will also be damaged by new councils from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for Americans to avoid non-essential travel to 29 European countries. Although the UK is not among them, many passengers would normally pass through London Heathrow. In addition, the warning will discourage U.S. visitors to Britain.
British Airways declined to comment when The independent he approached them.
The warning came when Eurocontrol in Brussels stated that flights were one sixth less on the corresponding day a year ago, which represents 4,600 fewer departures than the equivalent Thursday of 2019.
Traffic at Italian airports is down 70%.
Meanwhile, the troubled Norwegian airline is seeking immediate financial support from the Oslo government to avoid breaking its financial alliances.