Thursday 10 June 2021 5:32 pm

Thousands of BA staff go back on furlough

Thousands of British Airways (BA) staff are being put back onto the furlough scheme as the wait for a meaningful return of international travel continues.

With 17 May as the date the government had set for the restart of travel, the carrier had begun to bring back workers in preparation for the summer season.

But with all but 11 countries – and no significant holiday destinations – on the “green list”, thousands are now going back on the government programme, City A.M. understands.

It comes the same day that representatives for the UK airlines industry wrote to the Chancellor asking for furlough to be extended until the end of April 2022 for the sector.

At the moment, the programme is due to end on 31 September.

The BBC, which first reported the news, said that staff effected would include management staff, but those not linked to safety operations and plane critical roles.

A BA spokesperson said: “Like many companies we’re using the furlough scheme to protect jobs during this unprecedented crisis.

“However, it’s vital the government follows its risk-based framework to re-open international travel as soon as possible, putting more low-risk countries, like the US, on its green list at the next available opportunity.”

The carrier has already cut more than 8,000 jobs in a bid to cut costs amid the worst downturn in aviation history.

Earlier this BA’s chief executive Sean Doyle joined rival airline execs to call for the reopening of the UK-US travel corridor, one of his airline’s key routes.

“We urgently need them to look to the science and base their judgements on a proper risk analysis, allowing us all to benefit from the protection offered by our successful vaccine rollouts”, Doyle said.