IAG agrees union deals while announcing further cutbacks

(Photo: Jeff Garrish / British Airways)

The International Airlines Group (IAG), owners of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level has announced it has decided to reduce overall capacity (expressed in terms of available seat kilometres) in April and May to approximately 90% less than it was in the same period last year.

Its airlines had already cut capacity by around 75% due to the expanding COVID-19 pandemic but IAG continues to operate repatriation flights and support the transportation of essential cargo.

As a result of the huge decline in passenger services, IAG’s largest airline, British Airways is making use of the British Government’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme.

This provides financial support for UK-based employees that have been placed on furlough. On April 2, it reached an agreement with the GMB and Unite trade unions, to apply this scheme to more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground-based employees in April and May. Under this scheme, furloughed employees will receive 80% of their base pay and of certain allowances. British Airways has also reached agreement with its 4,000 pilots to take four weeks of unpaid leave in April and May.

IAG said its other airlines have received support from similar job retention and wage support schemes for more than 17,000 employees in Spain and are seeking similar support in Ireland.