British Airways has set out plans to make as many as 12,000 of its staff redundant due to the global collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, told BA’s 42,000 staff on Tuesday night that the company “must act decisively now to ensure that British Airways has a strong future” and that more than one in four jobs must be cut.

Cruz said BA, which has placed 22,600 people on the UK government’s furlough scheme, “cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely”.

“Yesterday, British Airways flew just a handful of aircraft out of Heathrow. On a normal day we would fly more than 300. What we are facing as an airline, like so many other businesses up and down the country, is that there is no ‘normal’ any longer,” Cruz said in a letter to staff .

“We are a strong, well-managed business that has faced into, and overcome, many crises in our hundred-year history. We must overcome this crisis ourselves, too.”

Cruz said the airline and its parent company International Airlines Group, had informed the government and its trade unions about its plans to cut jobs, and would begin a consultation period with staff and unions immediately.

“This has been a difficult message to write and one I never thought I would need to send,” Cruz said.

“I know how tight-knit the BA family is, and how concerned you will be, not just for yourself but for your colleagues, too. We must act decisively now to ensure that British Airways has a strong future and continues connecting Britain with the world, and the world with Britain.”

This article was written by Rupert Neate from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Photo Credit: British Airways and parent company IAG have informed the government and trade unions about the plan to cut jobs. Benjamin Katz / Bloomberg