British Airways owner IAG is cutting flights between October and December by 60% because of Covid

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British Airways owner IAG has announced it is cutting flights due to coronavirus travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Between October and December the group expects to operate 60% less capacity than during the same period last year, compared with a previously planned reduction of 46%.

The firm said it continues to expect it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels.

It saw an ‘almost complete cessation of new booking activity’ in April and May due to the pandemic, while the easing of country lockdowns sparked an increase in ticket sales in June.  It is not yet clear which BA routes will be affected.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused severe problems in the aviation industry as the level of demand has plummeted. BA previously announced plans to cut 13,000 jobs and its competitors EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic are also slashing 4,500 roles. 

The firm said it continues to expect it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels

The firm said it continues to expect it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels

Aviation bosses have said the government’s quarantine policy requiring people to isolate for 14 days after returning from high risk countries is also suppressing demand.  

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister today, the chief executives of Britain’s carriers warn the UK is ‘falling well behind international rivals’ and say failure to re-open the skies will cost the economy £60billion. 

Owner IAG added that since July there has been an ‘overall levelling off of bookings’, IAG said.

Demand for short-haul travel has ‘fallen slightly’ following the UK and other European countries reimposing quarantine requirements for travellers returning from specific countries such as Spain. 

International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh (pictured) has stepped down from the top job at British Airways

International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh (pictured) has stepped down from the top job at British Airways

On Tuesday, easyJet revealed it will have flown ‘slightly less’ than the 40% of pre-coronavirus pandemic capacity it previously said it would operate between July and September following the Government’s decision to impose quarantine restrictions for seven Greek islands.

IAG said it will raise 2.7 billion euro (£2.5 billion) through selling new shares.

The equity raising was first announced in July.

IAG also announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with the Unite union over changes to the pay and conditions of British Airways cabin crew, with a ballot expected to start shortly.

It added that the airline is in the process of reducing headcount by ‘up to 13,000’, and said that, by the end of August, some 8,236 employees had left the business, ‘mostly as a result of voluntary redundancy’.

IAG shares were up 0.9% as markets opened in London on Thursday.

 The airline is in the process of reducing headcount by up to 13,000 people, and said that, by the end of August, some 8,236 employees had left the business, ‘mostly as a result of voluntary redundancy.’

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