British Airways puts thousands of staff back on furlough
The airline said it was protecting jobs and called on the government to reopen global travel - REUTERS
British Airways has taken thousands of employees on leave, citing travel delays as the reason for their decision.
The airline confirmed on Thursday that a large number of its employees - including executives - have been re-enrolled in the program.
Workers were relieved of vacation before the summer vacation after the government set May 17 as the resumption date for international travel.
However, there are no top vacation spots on the green list, which means travelers returning from places like France, Spain, and Italy must be quarantined at home for 10 days.
A large number of BA employees were already on leave before the most recent leave of absence decision, it is said.
It comes because the government is under pressure to resume international travel. On Thursday, Theresa May attacked minister and warned that Britain was "closed" because of "incomprehensible" travel restrictions in one of the most heavily vaccinated countries in the world.
BA has urged the government to open international travel "as soon as possible" and add "low-risk" countries like the United States to its green list.
She confirmed reports that more employees are moving to the flexible vacation regime and working part-time.
A BA spokesman said: “Like many companies, we are using the vacation program to protect jobs during this unprecedented crisis.
"However, it is important that the government follow its risk-based framework to reopen international travel as soon as possible and to green list more low-risk countries like the US at the next opportunity."
Airlines UK, a trade association representing UK airlines, argued that vacation support for aviation staff should be extended until April next year.
In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the industry panel said airlines made multi-billion pounds of pre-tax losses and announced more than 30,000 job cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.
The vacation scheme, which pays up to 80 percent of wages, is slated to expire on September 30, but the letter called for an extension to the end of April 2022.
British Airways on Thursday welcomed the announcement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden will set up a task force to make recommendations for the safe resumption of international travel.
BA chief Sean Doyle said the announcement was “a step in the right direction” but added: “We are now at a critical point and we need to act immediately, including clear criteria and a timeline.
"Anything but this could have severe consequences."
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