BA axes 1,700 cabin crew as losses mount

BELEAGUERED British Airways yesterday said 1,000 of its cabin staff have agreed to take voluntary redundancy, with another 3,000 moving from full-time to part-time work &ndash; the equivalent of 1,700 full-time job cuts.<br /><br />The carrier has been on a massive cost-cutting drive to return to profitability, with chief executive Willie Walsh and finance director Keith Williams both working unpaid in July, and temporary staff being axed earlier this year.<br /><br />&ldquo;BA is currently not profitable and we expect to record a significant loss for the second consecutive year &ndash; the first time that has happened in our history,&rdquo; the airline said.<br /><br />The news came as the group warned it may be forced to cut short haul flights at Heathrow if the Tories&rsquo; plans to scrap expansion at the hub go ahead.<br /><br />Aviation body BAA joined BA in condemning the Conservatives&rsquo; plans, saying to scrap the project would be bad for business and the struggling economy.<br /><br />BAA added that UK companies would lose a total of &pound;1bn for each year a third runway was delayed.<br /><br />Meanwhile, the Tories used their party conference to reiterate their stance on a new runway at the airport, which was given the go-ahead by Labour in January this year.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are absolutely firm on our opposition to expansion,&rdquo; shadow transport minister Julian Brazier said.<br /><br />Tory transport spokeswoman Theresa Villiers said in late September that the party would instead opt for a &pound;20bn high speed rail line between London and northern England.