British Airways pilots accept pay cuts


LONDON — British Airways pilots have voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay cut as part of a package of measures aimed at saving the struggling airline millions of pounds, a union said on Monday.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said members voted 94 percent in favour of a 2.6 percent pay cut and to reduce some allowances by a fifth to save BA 26 million pounds a year.

“This is an unaccustomed position for a union to be in but we have pressure-tested the company’s trading position and cost base and are satisfied that this step is necessary to help BA recover its position as one of the world’s most successful airlines,” Balpa leader Jim McAuslan said in a statement.

Last month, 800 BA staff agreed to temporarily work for free and thousands more to pay cuts. BA chief executive Willie Walsh and its finance director Keith Williams are working for free in July.

The world’s leading commercial airlines are facing a major cash squeeze as the global economic slump crushes demand for plane tickets.

BA recently reported an annual loss of 375 million pounds, also blamed on high fuel costs.

Earlier in July, the airline said it would slash capital expenditure by one fifth during its current financial year, which ends in March, after posting another sharp drop in monthly passenger numbers.

BA is also cutting 3,700 jobs up until March after slashing 2,500 jobs worldwide over the past year.