British Airways pilots working for the carrier’s newly-announced subsidiary at Gatwick will reportedly be paid less than pilots at low-cost rival Easyjet.
The Telegraph reported that junior captains will be paid between £97,000 and £114,000, while Easyjet captains earn from £108,000 to £148,000.
The new pay structure is part of plans by the carrier to cut costs at the Crawley airport, where it has consistently lost money in the past.
A spokesperson for the carrier said that pilots would have the choice as to whether to join the new short-haul subsidiary, which has been dubbed “BA Lite” by some.
“Existing BA pilots will have the choice of joining the new subsidiary, there is no requirement for them to leave the mainline business. We hope the pilot community choose to support this proposal, creating jobs and keeping the BA short-haul brand at Gatwick”, they added.
“Time is now critical and if BA is to launch an operation for next summer, decisions in relation to slots, aircraft and other critical resources are imminent.”
It was reported that BALPA, the pilots’ union, had recommended that its members vote in favour of the plans at a ballot on the matter later this month.
If the changes are approved, BA is looking to operate as many as 17 aircraft out of Gatwick next summer, having pulled services from the airport due to the pandemic.
But despite the cost-cutting plans, the IAG-owned carrier has insisted that passengers will “continue to benefit from the same full standard of service”.
In a statement, it added: “British Airways is continuing to lose money at Gatwick and has done for over 30 years. We cannot afford to keep doing this.
“This is about creating a sustainable platform from which to rebuild BA’s London Gatwick operation. If this isn’t achieved, BA will not serve the London Gatwick short-haul market.”
News of the new subsidiary has met with disdain from some quarters. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary branded the plans the “definition of insanity” at a press conference last week.