After EU regulators approved the purchase of bmi by British Airways, plans began in earnest for the takeover. BA began by consulting with unions on how best to coordinate the takeover by cutting loose 1,200 workers whilst keeping approximately 1,500 jobs intact. The chief of BA refers to those redundancies as ‘regrettable’ but necessary for the long term goal of saving the remaining jobs.
The acquisition of bmi cost £172 million and IAG, the parent company of BA insists that if it weren’t for the takeover, all 2,700 jobs at British Midlands International would have been lost. At the moment, BA intents to keep approximately 1,100 pilots, cabin crew and engineers as employees as well as 400 jobs in passenger services at Terminal 1 at Heathrow.
The news is not good for those workers at Castle Donington, Leicestershire. This is the location of bmi’s head office and this is where most of the UK jobs will be lost. A great number will also become redundant at regional airports but BA did promise to moderate the impact these job losses would have by trying to place some of that number in vacancies with partners including Rolls Royce located in the Midlands and also at BA Heathrow.
Even so, unions are making plans to salvage as many jobs as they possibly can and are stepping up efforts on behalf of members in threat of being made redundant. In response, the chief executive of BA, Keith Williams, states that bmi is losing so much money that it is not really a viable business at the moment and that BA’s plans would salvage more than half the jobs at bmi which would all be lost otherwise.
According to the engineers’ union, Prospect, this will be a huge blow to affected local economies and only London will not suffer financial consequences. At the same time, BA is reassuring customers that their bookings are safe and that they can continue to make reservations with confidence.