British Airways pilots could be seconded to the RAF for up to four years as airline faces struggle for survival in coronavirus lockdown
- Pilots facing losing their jobs with the airline could temporarily work in RAF roles
- The union is in talks with the RAF because of the hit the travel industry has taken
- It depends on whether BA will take pilots back after completed secondments
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Published: | Updated:
BA pilots who face losing their jobs because of the coronavirus lockdown could be given temporary RAF roles.
The pilots’ union BALPA is in talks with the air force to send pilots into RAF roles for up to four years.
BA and the RAF have had a working relationship for years where military pilots have joined the commercial airline.
But the devastation that the coronavirus lockdown has caused the travel industry has reversed these roles.
‘The RAF will select individuals based on suitability, including background, relevant experience, and qualifications,’ BAPLA said in a memo sent to BA pilots.
BA pilots who are facing losing their jobs could do secondments with the RAF if the BA agrees to welcome them back afterwards. Pictured: RAF T2 two-seat trainer aircrafts
The memo also said that, unlike before, the RAF would also at pilots without any military background.
They have discussed secondments between 18 and 48 months but any final plans depend on BA’s willingness to welcome pilots back to the commercial airline after secondments are completed.
‘BALPA has entered urgent negotiations with British Airways about its proposed job losses and the company has yet to justify the scale of its planned cuts. We will fight to save as many of those jobs as we can,’ said BAPLA.
In April BA said it might have to make 12,000 employees redundant including more than 1,100 BA pilots which is why the union is looking at other options.
BA is looking at making 12,000 employees redundant including over 1,100 pilots which is why the union is looking at other options. Pictured: Stock photo of a BA commercial plane
‘BALPA is exploring all avenues to ensure its members are not dumped by the company and left with no options, the union said.
BALPA and the RAF have discussed both flying jobs and jobs on the ground for suitable BA pilots.
‘The success of any scheme like this will be dependent on BA’s willingness to negotiate suitable terms with BALPA,’ they said.
As well as BALPA the RAF are also in talks with other aviation firms like GKN Aerospace, British Aerospace and Ascent about potential secondments.
The RAF said: ‘The Royal Air Force are always interested in recruiting high quality people and are currently in initial discussions with the UK aviation industry on the possibility of employing suitable available personnel.’
BA did not wish to comment.
A BA pilot got a new job as a Tesco delivery driver
By Rory Tingle
Peter Login was saluted for his temporary change of career as he ditched Boeing 747s for a Mercedes Sprinter to drop off food to Britons in coronavirus lockdown.
BA has grounded all flights at Gatwick and dramatically cut its services at Heathrow, while pilots have been hit with a 50% pay cut for three months and told to take two weeks of unpaid leave in both April and May.
British Airways pilot Peter Login with his partner, Marianne Whiston. They met while working for Thomas Cook, which is when they are pictured
Mr Login behind the wheel of his Tesco delivery van (left) and while still working as a pilot (right)
BA has furloughed 36,000 of its 45,000-strong workforce, including cabin and ground crew, engineers and office staff, who will now receive 80% of their pay from the government.
The airline has axed all its flights to and from Gatwick Airport and London City – with a severely reduced schedule from Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
BA boss Alex Cruz also revealed that he won’t take a salary for two months.
How coronavirus has affected UK airlines
Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe. Flybe’s owners, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart Group and hedge fund firm Cyrus Capital, blamed coronavirus for hastening the ailing airline’s collapse. Flybe operated up to 50 UK routes, accounting for 40 per cent of all domestic flights, and was used by 9.5million passengers a year.
British Airways: The International Airlines Group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75 per cent reduction in passenger capacity for two months, with boss Willie Walsh admitting there was ‘no guarantee that many European airlines would survive’.
easyJet: The airline with 9,000 UK-based staff including 4,000 cabin crew grounded its entire fleet of 344 planes on March 30. The Luton-based carrier said parking all of its planes ‘removes significant cost’ as the aviation industry struggles to cope with a collapse in demand.
Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it expects to ask the Government for a bailout to cope with the impact of the pandemic. Loganair will go to the government despite being told by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak last week that airlines should exhaust all other options for funding, before asking for help.
Jet2: The budget holiday airline has suspended all of its flights departing from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around mid-air last month while travelling to Spain when a lockdown was announced in the country.
Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have reduced its lights by 80 per cent by March 26, and this will go up to 85 per cent by April. It has also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.
Ryanair: More than 90 per cent of the Irish-based airline’s planes are now grounded, with the rest of the aircraft providing repatriation and rescue flights.