British Airways will seek to take on low cost carriers like easyJet and Wizz Air by reducing the benefits of stopovers at luxury hotels abroad for cabin crew and pilots.
The carrier is currently in the final stages of negotiations to set up its low cost “on, off, on again” Gatwick subsidiary which will target leisure travelers with point-to-point flights to popular holiday destinations.
British Airways has threatened to pull out of Gatwick altogether unless pilots and other workers agree to sign new contracts with significantly reduced pay rates and less generous terms.
The airline claims to have suffered a loss on its operations at Gatwick for years as it tried to compete on price with low cost carriers who have much lower overhead costs.
Last month, the pilots backed a proposal to cut their wages in order to make BA’s new low-cost subsidiary viable. Pilots of the new carrier will eventually be able to switch to the main brand at Heathrow to increase their income.
British Airways sent an email to cabin crew made redundant last year inviting them to apply for a position at the branch as part of its plans to ‘speed up’ them to a position at British Airways.
“By applying for this role, you will have the opportunity to help shape our new operation competing with carriers like Easyjet and Wizz, while ensuring that we stand out from the crowd with our unique British Airways service,” says the email.
Cabin crew could earn a maximum of £ 24,000 from a combination of flight and service pay, bonuses and in-flight sales commissions, but the starting salary is only £ 15,848.
The airline is expected to start flying in March 2022, according to the email.
While British Airways describes the subsidiary as a ‘full-service premium airline’, cabin crew and pilots will not be able to take advantage of layovers as all flights will start and end at Gatwick. The cabin crew worked two to four legs per day, although some duty days could go up to six steps.
It is quite common for low cost carriers to not have a stopover for crews in order to keep costs down. Competitors like easyJet or Ryanair will normally establish a new base rather than sending crews on overnight trips.
The practice is popular with cabin crew and pilots who enjoy their home life, especially those with babysitting responsibilities. One of the biggest benefits is that airlines can come up with a defined shift model that allows crews to plan for a long time.
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