Last week, British Airways began consultation
with trade unions on proposals to integrate bmi mainline into its
operations at Heathrow.
The acquisition of bmi by British Airways’
owner, International Airlines Group (IAG), was given regulatory
approval from the European Commission in late March. bmi is losing
more than £3m a week and, without a suitable acquisition, was
facing closure with the potential loss of all 2,700 UK based jobs.
The consultation proposes the full integration
of bmi mainline into British Airways securing approximately 1,500
jobs. The integration proposals could result in up to 1,200
Jobs secured under the proposals include the
transfer to British Airways of around 1,100 cabin crew, pilots and
engineers based at Heathrow. Up to 400 passenger services jobs
would be secured at Heathrow Terminal 1.
The proposed UK redundancies consist primarily
of roles based at bmi’s head office at Castle Donington and at
regional airports. Consultation will seek to reduce the number and
mitigate the impact of the proposed redundancies, including the
potential to offer vacancies within British Airways at Heathrow.
British Airways will also 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
“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,” said Keith Williams, British
Airways’ chief executive. “This deal is good news for our
customers and will offer new destinations, new routes and new
schedules in due course. For customers with bmi bookings to or
from Heathrow this summer, it is business as usual and customers
can continue to book with confidence.”
As announced on December 22 last year, Lufthansa
is to take on bmi’s defined benefit pension scheme before
completion of the transaction, which is expected to take place
around 20 April 2012. This scheme has been closed and the terms on
which pensions will be retained will be agreed between Lufthansa
and the bmi pension trustees. After completion, British Airways
intends to maintain the bmi defined contribution pension
arrangements for bmi employees with the potential, subject to the
outcome of consultation, to transfer some or all of the bmi
employees to the British Airways defined contribution scheme.
The acquisition of bmi mainline will give
British Airways an additional 56 average daily slot pairs at
Heathrow, of which up to 14 will be available to other carriers.
Retained slots will be used to expand British Airways’ operations
at Heathrow. The proposed integration would also include
repainting the bmi mainline aircraft in British Airways’ livery.
Discussions with potential buyers for bmibaby
and bmi Regional are continuing.
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