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British Airways pilots face 50 per cent pay cut in desperate bid

British Airways pilots face 50 per cent pay cut in desperate bid to save airline as other high earners on six figures also expect wages to be slashed

  • BA has agreed a plan with the pilots’ union BALPA to fight ‘the immediate threat to the business in the face of COVID-19 and avoid wide-spread redundancies 
  • Industries slash salaries in order to survive as the long-term consequences of the coronavirus pandemic begin to hit with many sectors fighting to survive
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

British Airways pilots have opted to take a 50 per cent pay cut in April and May as the company fights for its survival amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  

BA employs 4,500 pilots who will take two weeks of unpaid leave each month. The reduction in their salary will be spread out over three months to reduce the blow.  

Data from indicates that many BA pilots are on six-figure salaries. 

Earlier this week BA staff faced widespread lay-offs and faced the prospect of the company being renationalised in order to keep it afloat. 

Under the new deal, it is indicated that a consultation on potential job losses is going to be put on hold. 

BA has negotiated a deal with the pilots’ union BALPA to avoid widespread lay-offs 

According to Sky News, British Airways has sent a letter to staff telling them the plan had been agreed with the pilots’ union BALPA to fight ‘the immediate threat to the business in the face of COVID-19 and the unprecedented impact this is having on the airline’.

The letter also states: ‘We are committed to finding solutions and will focus any future discussions on exploring and exhausting all voluntary measures. 

‘We acknowledge that this situation is hugely challenging for individuals and their families. BA and BALPA are committed to working together to find solutions during this unprecedented period and support the future of our airline.’

Chairman of BA, Alex Cruz, told his 45,000 staff that the viral outbreak is threatening the company’s survival.

Mr Cruz warned that the escalating crisis is ‘of global proportions like no other we have known’, including the 2008 Financial Crisis and 9/11.

The announcement comes as the global airline industry fights for its survival. EasyJet has said it would ask employees to take pay cuts and unpaid leave. 

Norwegian announced it would lay off half of its 11,000 with a view to re-employing them when the crisis was over.

Qantas Airways has told most of its 30,000 staff to take leave and Lufthansa warned the industry may not survive without a state bailout if the pandemic continues for a long time.   

The Airline industry is fighting for its life as ticket sales have flat-lined due to the pandemic

Other industries are also resorting to savage salary cuts in order to survive the existential threat caused by the coronavirus.

Coach of the Irish national rugby team,  Andy Farrell, and his son, Rugby Union player Owen Farrell, accepted emergency pay cuts yesterday as rugby union took unprecedented action to survive a financial downturn.

According to the Times, Saracens, Gloucester, Wasps, Worcester Warriors and Bristol Bears announced that they would be implementing a 25 per cent pay cut for all employees, with the exception of the lowest earners, until rugby resumes in a bid to protect as many jobs as possible.

For Owen Farrell, the England captain and Saracens fly half, a 25 per cent pay cut would be worth about £16,000 a month. All Premiership clubs are now expected to follow suit.

Owen Farrell of Saracens celebrates with the trophy after the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Racing 92 and Saracens at the Stade de Lyon on May 14, 2016

Lance Bradley, the Gloucester chief executive, says the league could be shut down for as long as six months. 

At present, the next four rounds of the Premiership season have been postponed but Bradley said: ‘We think the most likely scenario is that we could start playing rugby again in September.

‘If that were to be the case then this club will have no income for six months, literally no income. And our wage bill is around £1million a month.

‘So it doesn’t take very long to explain that with £6million going out and nothing coming in on a business where last year we lost £2million, it doesn’t add up.’

The CEOs taking pay cuts


Delta CEO Ed Bastian: ‘As I mentioned last week, I’ve cut my own salary by 100 percent through the next six months. Our Board of Directors elected to forego their compensation over the next six months as well.’

Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden cutting base salary to zero

United CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby ‘will forego their base salary at least through June 2020.’

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly taking a 10% pay cut.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes is taking a 20% pay cut.

Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher and President John Redmond take full pay cut.

Spirit CEO Edward Christie is taking a pay cut.

IndiGo’s CEO Ronojoy Dutta is taking a 25% pay cut.

 British Airways CEO Willie Walsh is taking a 25% pay cut. 


Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green pledged to donate their salaries through June.


Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson has joined the airlines in a pay cut, as the hotel industry revenues has been slammed as well. ‘I will not be taking any salary for the balance of 2020 and my executive team will be taking a 50% cut in pay,’ Sorenson said.

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