United Kingdom

British Airways in battle over prized airport landing slots

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to strip British Airways of prized airport landing slots over its 'fire and rehire' jobs plan.

More than 100 MPs from across political parties have urged the Prime Minister to review BA's right to slots at airports such as Heathrow as it embarks on a huge restructuring that will axe 12,000 staff.

The airline is struggling after flights around the world were grounded for several months and travel is only just starting to pick up again. 

More than 100 MPs have urged the Prime Minister to review BA's right to slots at airports such as Heathrow as it embarks on a huge restructuring that will axe 12,000 staff

It insists cutting 12,000 jobs – or 28p per cent of its 42,000-strong workforce – is crucial to its survival and that it is being unjustly vilified. 

The airline is on the cusp of agreeing a deal with pilots – but has not been able to engage with unions that represent cabin crew.

Trade union Unite has accused the airline of planning a 'fire and rehire' system involving remaining employees having their terms and conditions downgraded.

IAG-owned BA has insisted its proposals have been put forward for consultation, adding that no decisions have been taken in regards to actual redundancies.

The airline holds more than half of the slots – which give planes the right to take off and land at a certain time – at Heathrow, which can be worth several million pounds each. 

Boss Alex Cruz has previously told staff that every slot the airline loses 'will lead to jobs in BA being permanently lost'.

Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer, said the company was 'essentially creating an unrecognisable airline'.

The pledge, organised by Unite, encourages the PM to prevent airlines being able to keep hold of the coveted slots without factors such as 'internal investment, social responsibility and connectivity' being considered. 

It has been signed by MPs of all parties including 15 Tories such as Huw Merriman, the chairman of Commons transport committee.

A BA spokesman said: 'We are acting to protect as many jobs as possible. We call on Unite and GMB to consult with us on our proposals as our pilot union, Balpa, is doing.' 


BALPA has branded proposals by EasyJet to use sick days as a factor when deciding who to axe as part of its wave of redundancies as 'unnecessary and wrong'.

A spokesman for the airline denied that sickness was a 'key component' and said that absence was one of a number of criteria being put forward in the proposals.

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