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British Airways owner to cut more flights

British Airways owner IAG is cutting more flights over the next three months as it adjusts to the continuing collapse in demand for air travel.

IAG, which also runs Aer Lingus and Iberia, said quarantine restrictions meant capacity this autumn would be 60% below 2019 levels.

The group said it had seen a “delayed recovery”, and did not expect business to return to 2019 levels until 2023.

IAG also said BA had reached the outline of a jobs agreement with Unite.

The union has been in a bitter dispute with BA over redundancies and pay cuts.

The airline, which is aiming to shed up to 13,000 jobs, said that by the end of August some 8,236 employees had left the business, “mostly as a result of voluntary redundancy”.

Unite is expected to hold a ballot on the agreement soon.

Bookings slow

IAG’s decision to cut more flights than planned follows its previous forecast of a 46% reduction for the October-to-December period compared with the same quarter last year.

It said it had seen an “almost complete cessation of new booking activity” in April and May due to the pandemic, but the easing of country lockdowns boosted ticket sales in June.

However, since July there had been an “overall levelling off in bookings” as the UK and other European countries re-imposed quarantine requirements for travellers returning from countries such as Spain.

On Tuesday, EasyJet revealed it will have flown “slightly less” than the 40% of pre-coronavirus pandemic capacity it previously said it would operate between July and September following the government’s decision to impose quarantine restrictions for seven Greek islands.

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Atuobi Alex

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