Now Reading
British Airways Recalls Crew On Longterm Leave as Travel Demand Bounces Back On USA Reopening

British Airways Recalls Crew On Longterm Leave as Travel Demand Bounces Back On USA Reopening

British Airways is recalling hundreds of cabin crew who have been on long-term leave throughout the pandemic in a bid to avoid the chaos that U.S.-based airlines faced when travel demand suddenly bounced back this summer.

Last month, the airline embarked on an ambitious mission to recruit as many as 3,000 cabin crew in time for Summer 2022 but the Heathrow-based carrier could still face an employee shortfall in the near term after many travel restrictions were suddenly lifted in quick succession.

American Airlines and Southwest have been left embarrassed by several costly operational meltdowns this year owing to staff shortages. United Airlines, meanwhile, has been forced to constrain its return to pre-pandemic capacity levels to make sure it can adequately staff flights.

British Airways slashed thousands of jobs at the height of the pandemic and still feared an overstaffing situation over the winter months. Staff had been told to brace themselves for the possibility of being stood down without pay for months at a time if the situation didn’t improve.

Soon after that dire assessment of the airline industry was shared, President Biden announced plans to reopen the United States to fully vaccinated travellers from around the world.

The sudden return in demand for international travel has been supercharged by the British government’s decision to roll back some of the toughest travel restrictions in the world which included mandatory hotel quarantine, self-isolation rules, pre-departure and post-arrival testing.

British Airways is desperate to capitalise on the bounceback after European rivals leapt ahead through the summer but the carrier would still be constrained by staff shortages.

Some of those issues could be traced back to BA’s eagerness to reduce employee costs after the airline reduced its total headcount by nearly 10,000 and then pushed through major changes to staff terms and conditions.

Many of BA’s longest employees decided to voluntary leave the airline rather than accept lower pay and new conditions. The airline boasted to investors last month that it had used the pandemic to cut annual employee costs by nearly a third and had managed to put the majority of its workforce onto contracts with short-time layoff clauses.

Many of BA’s employees who were either made redundant or chose to voluntarily leave the airline are now being offered their jobs back, albeit on reduced terms and conditions, while crew who opted to take long-term leave are being recalled to shore up the airline’s available workforce.

British Airways has accelerated a recruitment campaign to hire new cabin crew but the first batch of trainees won’t start their course until January 2022 and won’t be ready to take to the skies until March.

The airline says cabin crew could earn a maximum of £28,000 per year.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.