British Airways is facing a cabin crew shortage as the airline adds more flights to reopened holiday destinations just as increasing numbers of crew are being ordered to self-isolate due to surging COVID-19 infections across the United Kingdom. British Airways says all its flights are currently operating as normal.
The warning came in a memo from a cabin crew union who told cabin crew who are still at work that they will face a “challenging” few days ahead
“As we head into this weekend, for a variety of reasons, BA is facing a significantly under-resourced period. This has been caused by a combination of factors, increased self-isolation, higher than expected customer loads, and of course an increase to the flying programme,” the memo from BASSA union explained.
In recent days, the hospitality industry has complained of severe staff shortages due to employees being forced to self-isolate as infection rates increase rapidly. On Friday, the UK recorded 35,707 new infections despite its massively successful vaccination campaign that has reached nearly 87 per cent of the adult population.
Although British Airways still has thousands of staff furloughed, the airline may face a crew shortage over the next few days as it recalls cabin crew. The union asked British Airways to offer extra pay for cabin crew to work on their days off, but this request was allegedly rejected.
As a result, the union warns that some flights may depart with less cabin crew than would normally be expected. Flights can only operate with a minimum legally required number of crew.
Earlier this week, British Airways revealed that the number of visitors on its website increased by nearly 100 per cent after a government announcement that fully vaccinated travellers could skip quarantine when arriving back in England from most countries.
BA’s chief executive Sean Doyle has urged the government to go further by reopening travel to and from the United States.
“We are enthusiastic about welcoming more of our customers back over the summer period and reassuring them that British Airways is ready,” Doyle said on Thursday. “Our people have been working relentlessly behind the scenes to make important changes to the customer experience that will ensure our customers receive a first-class experience and complete peace of mind.”
The airline has also confirmed that face mask rules will remain in place after July 19 when the British government lifted most pandemic-era rules.
By Joe Cusmano