British Airways recalls crew on long-term leave as travel demand rebounds on US reopening

British Airways is recalling hundreds of cabin crews who have been on long-term leave throughout the pandemic in a bid to avoid the chaos US-based airlines have faced when demand for travel has suddenly rebounded this summer.

Last month, the airline embarked on an ambitious mission of recruiting up to 3,000 cabin crew in time for the summer of 2022, but the Heathrow-based carrier could still face a shortfall. short-term employees after many travel restrictions were suddenly lifted in quick succession.

American Airlines and Southwest have been hampered by several costly operational collapses this year due to staff shortages. United Airlines, meanwhile, has been forced to limit its return to pre-pandemic capacity levels to ensure it can properly operate flights.

British Airways cut thousands of jobs at the height of the pandemic and continued to fear overstaffing during the winter months. Staff had been told to prepare for the possibility of being laid off without pay for months if the situation did not improve.

Shortly after sharing this disastrous assessment of the airline industry, President Biden announced his intention to reopen the United States to fully vaccinated travelers from around the world.

The sudden return in demand for international travel has been spurred by the UK government’s decision to lift some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions, including mandatory quarantine in hotels, self-isolation rules, testing before departure and after arrival.

British Airways is desperate to capitalize on the rebound after its European rivals surged throughout the summer, but the carrier is reportedly still limited by staff shortages.

Some of these problems could be attributed to BA’s eagerness to cut staff costs after the airline reduced its total workforce by nearly 10,000 and then imposed major changes to staff terms and conditions.

Many of BA’s older employees decided to quit the airline voluntarily rather than accept lower pay and new terms. The airline bragged to investors last month that it had used the pandemic to cut annual staff costs by nearly a third and had succeeded in putting the majority of its workforce under contract with layoff clauses at short term.

Many BA employees who have been made redundant or who have chosen to leave the airline voluntarily are now offered their jobs, albeit on reduced terms, while crew members who have chosen to take long-term leave are reminded to strengthen the availability of the airline. Workforce.

British Airways has stepped up a recruitment drive 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 off until March.

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

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Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed her skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s largest airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always listening to the field, Matt’s news, analysis and media coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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