More than 1,000 British Airways jobs in south Wales are under threat because of a collapse in passenger numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline has started a 45-day consultation with workers at its three Welsh sites – including BA’s main £70m maintenance base at Cardiff Airport.
BA’s parent company had warned it was to cut 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce due to the crisis.
BA say they are proposed changes and subject to consultation with unions.
While BA does not fly from Wales, it employs maintenance and engineering staff in Wales.
They maintain their long-haul fleet at Cardiff Airport, have an interiors factory in Blackwood, Caerphilly county and an Avionics Services site in Llantrisant in Rhonnda Cynon Taff.
The airline’s parent company IAG had previously said it needed to impose a “restructuring and redundancy programme” until demand for air travel returns to 2019 levels.
IAG – one of the world’s biggest airline companies, which also owns Spanish airline Iberia and Ireland’s Aer Lingus – said it will take several years for air travel to return to pre-virus levels, a warning that has been echoed by airlines across the world.
It is the latest blow for the aerospace industry as engine maker Rolls-Royce also announced on Wednesday it will cut 9,000 jobs, warning it will take “several years” for the airline industry to recover from the drop in air travel because of the coronavirus crisis.
Experts had warned 8,000 aerospace jobs in Wales could go because of the fall in airline passenger numbers.
John Whalley, from Aerospace Wales, the body representing the industry, warned MPs last month that the sector “may never recover”.
Jobs are also at risk at General Electric’s 1,400-worker site at Nantgarw, near Caerphilly, and at Airbus’ factory in Broughton on Deeside.
It is because nine out of 10 flights have been grounded since the UK went into lockdown – plus travel restrictions can prevent some air travel.
BA opened its huge hanger next to Cardiff Airport in 1993 where it carries out all of the heavy maintenance on all its long-haul fleet.
This is confirmation of terrible news for BA workers across south Wales.
Job losses are expected across the aerospace and defence industry which employs 23,000 people in Wales.
The industry has already been badly hit by coronavirus and it’s almost certain that it will take years to fully recover.
BA’s maintenance facility at Rhoose services the company’s long-haul fleet of planes.
These flights are the ones that passengers are expected to take longer to return to so demand for these planes may be reduced for years.
The facility is also a user of the Welsh Government-owned Cardiff Airport where the BA planes arrive for service. BA had said it would cut 12,000 in total from its operations.
There have also been warnings of global job losses at Airbus and GE Aviation. Both companies are major employers in Wales.