Belfast Telegraph

British Airways to axe 1,200 jobs in bmi takeover

By Alan Jones and David Elliot

The £172.5m takeover of bmi by the parent group of British Airways is set to lead to up to 1,200 job losses, the airline announced yesterday.

A spokesman for British Airways told the Belfast Telegraph some of the job losses could be at the company's George Best Belfast City Airport base where around 100 staff are employed.

"They'll form part of the consultations with the wider BA staff," he said, while reiterating the airline is committed to the Belfast to London Heathrow route, operated by bmi until March 2013.

BA opened consultations with unions on proposals to integrate the bmi business into its operations at Heathrow Airport after the acquisition was given regulatory approval by the European Commission last month.

BA said that, without the acquisition, all 2,700 jobs at bmi, which is losing £3m a week, could have been lost.

The jobs of 1,100 cabin crew, pilots and engineers at Heathrow and up to 400 passenger service roles at Heathrow's Terminal One have been secured.

Unions expressed dismay at the scale of the job cuts, saying they would try to mitigate the losses.

Under the takeover by BA's parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), which also includes Spanish carrier Iberia, IAG agreed to give up a number of bmi's take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, including routes to Nice, Cairo, Moscow and Edinburgh.

BA said it will be working on potential job opportunities with industry partners in the Midlands, such as Rolls-Royce, and will look to create jobs at its engineering facility in Glasgow from January 2014 when the contract for bmi aircraft heavy maintenance work outside the UK expires.

BA chief executive Keith Williams said: "Bmi is heavily loss-making and is not a viable business as it stands today. Our proposals would secure around 1,500 jobs that would otherwise have been lost.

"As we look to restructure the business and restore profitability, job losses are deeply regrettable but inevitable.

"We will work with the unions to explore as many options as possible and are already working with industry partners.

"This deal is good news for our customers and will offer new destinations, new routes and new schedules in due course," he added.

The airline confirmed: "For customers with bmi bookings to or from Heathrow this summer, it is business as usual and customers can continue to book with confidence."

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