By Karim El-Bar
LONDON (AA) – British Airways announced on Tuesday that it will cut 12,000 jobs as the coronavirus outbreak has grounded flights around the world.
International Airlines Group (IAG), the airline’s parent company, said it will make over a quarter of BA’s workers redundant as the majority of its fleet remains grounded due to the global pandemic. BA employs 45,000 people.
IAG’s statement said: “In light of the impact of COVID-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme.”
The program will likely “affect most of British Airways' employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them,” it added.
IAG suffered operating losses of €535 million (nearly $580 million), or 13%, in the first quarter of the year, caused mainly by BA’s battering by coronavirus. IAG said it expects the situation to worsen in the second quarter.
BA chief executive Alex Cruz wrote to employees: “In the last few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now.”
He added: “There is no Government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely.
"We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers and the destinations we serve.”
BA employs around 4,500 pilots and 16,000 cabin crew.
Brian Sutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), said BA pilots and staff are “devastated” by the news.
“This has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the COVID storm and declined any Government support."
The union vowed to fight “to save every single” job lost.
After first appearing in China last December, the COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.
Data compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections surpassing 3.09 million with more than 215,000 deaths. Some 918,000 have recovered.
Turkey marks 567th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest
By Handan Kazanci
ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.
- Coronavirus in Turkey
Turkey on Thursday confirmed 926 additional recoveries as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s health minister.
The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 131,778 as 926 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing Health Ministry data.
The country's death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,630 as Turkey reported 21 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.
Turkey conducted over 54,000 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to more than 2.2 million, said Koca.
Meanwhile, Turkey plans to resume international flights to 40 countries gradually as of June 10, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Thursday.
International flights from Turkey will carry passengers first to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece, Karaismailoglu said in a statement.
Turkey suspended all international flights on March 28 amid COVID-19-related travel restrictions worldwide.
- Global coronavirus developments
A low death toll was once again recorded Thursday as France recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which plagued the country over the last three months, according to the latest statistics reported by the Health Ministry.
The country registered a total of 46 deaths in hospitals Thursday, a drop of 39 cases over those reported Wednesday.
Italy on Thursday reported 88 more fatalities from the pandemic, bringing the death toll to 33,689 as authorities unveiled new guidelines to prevent crowded summer spots like beach resorts from becoming new virus hotbeds.
The slowing trend in the number of deaths registered in May continued in early June, confirming that the peak of the crisis has been passed.
Face masks on English public transport will be mandatory from June 15, the British government announced Thursday, as a further 176 people died from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.
British authorities announced that the UK-wide death toll from COVID-19 is now 39,904.
As Spain prepares for its state of emergency over COVID-19 to last until June 21, the Health Ministry reported Thursday that 195 more people were infected with the coronavirus and five more had died.
The number of infections diagnosed Wednesday was down slightly from the 219 people who tested positive Tuesday but up from Monday and Sunday. In total, 240,660 infections have been confirmed in the country.
Health officials in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza announced Thursday the arrival of medical supplies sent by Turkey to help fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra confirmed that two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines had been delivered for detecting the virus.
- George Floyd Memorial service
Hundreds of mourners on Thursday attended the first of several memorials for George Floyd – an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody on May 25.
The service at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota was attended by Floyd's family and Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, as well as celebrity guests.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday urged demonstrators joining protests over the death of George Floyd to get tested for the novel coronavirus.
Speaking at his daily press briefing, Cuomo said around 30,000 people have taken part in the statewide protests demanding justice for the killing of the unarmed black man in police custody.
Of them, 20,000 were involved in rallies in New York City.
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens not to overlook the racism problem in Germany while intensely discussing racism and police brutality in the US after the death of George Floyd.
"This murder of George Floyd is very, very terrible. Racism is something terrible,” Merkel said Thursday evening in an exclusive interview with public broadcaster ZDF.
“Racism has always been present, but sadly we also have this [problem]. We should first sweep in front of our own door,” she stressed.
- Other developments
Turkey and Libya plan to advance cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including exploration and drilling activities, to further benefit from natural resources, Turkey’s president said in a meeting with Libya’s prime minister Thursday.
The meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj took place at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Erdogan said Turkey and Libya have reached a consensus on expanding their cooperation areas on the territory of Libya.