British Airways could be stripped of prized landing slots

Some 12,000 British Airways jobs are at risk. Credit: Getty.
Some 12,000 British Airways jobs are at risk. Photo: Getty

More than 100 cross party MPs have signed a pledge calling on the government to strip British Airways of prized landing slots.

Ministers are being urged to review the allocation of take-off and landing slots at airports such as Heathrow.

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to strip British Airways of these coveted slots due to its fire and rehire jobs plan. The airline holds more than half of the slots, worth several million pounds each, giving its planes priority to take off and land at a certain times.

But the aircraft carrier is under close scrutiny following its plans to axe 28% of its workforce - some 12,000 jobs.

It is also proposing to change the pay and working conditions of its remaining 30,000 employees, which union Unite has labelled a "downgrade".

The airline, which is part of IAG (IAG.L), the owner of Aer Lingus and Spanish airline Iberia, has insisted a major restructure is required to counteract the dramatic drop in air travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

It argues that demand, which has dropped since the coronavirus grounded flights globally, will not recover for several years and it is acting to "protect as many jobs as possible."

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Talks with pilots' union Balpa are ongoing but BA said it had not been able to engage with unions that represent cabin crew.

A BA spokesman said: "We call on Unite and GMB to consult with us on our proposals as our pilot union, Balpa, is doing."

The jobs proposals are currently in the consultation stage and Unite have taken this opportunity to approach MPs to sign an agreement preventing airlines from keeping slots without "internal investment, social responsibility and connectivity" being considered.

The pledge has been signed by MPs of all parties including 15 Conservatives such as the chairman of commons transport committee Huw Merriman.