Pilot pay cuts are just one of the measures BA will take to create a leaner low-cost subsidiary
Industry insiders are reported to have disclosed to the paper that junior BA captains at the new operation will be paid under £100,000 a year – less than the £108,000 starting salary paid to pilots at easyJet.
The pay cuts are part of the carrier’s wider strategy to recover from the travel shutdown and low passenger numbers caused by the global pandemic.
Two weeks ago it was reported that BA is planning to press ahead with an low-cost competitor at Gatwick by launching a budget subsidiary that will operate as a distinct short-haul brand.
The plan is to model Gatwick’s BA operation on the working practices of low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air, in a bid to drastically cut costs and make the Sussex airport profitable.
However, BA spokespeople are keen to emphasise that the subsidiary – dubbed “BA lite” by some commentators – will not be a “no frills” service.
At the weekend, one spokesman said that customers will “continue to benefit from the same full standard of service”.
“British Airways is continuing to lose money at Gatwick, and has done for over 30 years,” said the spokesman.
“We cannot afford to keep doing this. This is about creating a sustainable platform from which to rebuild BA’s London Gatwick operation. If this isn’t achieved, BA will not serve the London Gatwick short-haul market.
“British Airways pilots are competitively paid and their base salaries are also part of a generous package with extras like an industry-leading pension. Our proposal for the new subsidiary maintains many of these benefits and an associated career progression into the mainline business. The pay and scheduling we have proposed is superior to other contracts currently being offered in the market place.
“Pilot savings are only one element of the savings proposed by the new subsidiary operation, among other plans required to turn this business around.”
The Independent has contacted British Airways for comment.