British Airways ‘fighting for survival,’ warns boss

Flagship carrier British Airways is burning through £20 million a day and running only a third of normal services, according to its CEO. (AFP)
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Updated 17 September 2020

British Airways ‘fighting for survival,’ warns boss

  • BA has already laid off 13,000 staff and renegotiated the contracts of many of its remaining employees

LONDON: British Airways is having to take every measure possible to make it through the winter because a fear of flying during the pandemic has destroyed any hope of a rapid return to normality, its boss said on Wednesday.

BA CEO Alex Cruz told a parliamentary select committee that the airline was running at 25 to 30 percent of its normal flight schedule, prompting it to cut thousands of jobs because “fewer flights means fewer people required to actually service them.”

“This is the worst crisis that British Airways has gone through in its 100 years of history,” he said. “We’re still fighting for our own survival.

“We are taking every measure possible to make sure we can actually make it through this winter. We do not see a short-term coming back of our passengers. All the feedback we get ... is still pointing at a slow recovery process.”

Britain’s leading airline has been heavily criticized by politicians and unions for laying off 13,000 staff and renegotiating the contracts of many of its remaining employees.

The airline says it has no choice, because it is burning through £20 million a day and straining the finances of parent company IAG which is in the process of raising €2.74 billion from shareholders.

Cruz has cut his own pay by around a third.

UK-based airlines have benefited from government employment retention schemes and loans, but have not had the kind of industry-specific support deployed in France and Germany to bail out Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.

Cruz said a return to flying had been hampered by the weekly changes to quarantine rules and the lack of a testing system at airports. A two-stage testing system, where passengers are tested on arrival and five days later could remove the need for 14-day quarantines, he said.

“We remain worried with regards to the evolution of the rest of the winter season. People are still afraid of traveling and we are having weekly changes to the quarantine list, we don’t have a testing solution yet.


Apple to launch first online store in India next week

Updated 18 September 2020

Apple to launch first online store in India next week

  • The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country
  • India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years

NEW DELHI: Apple announced Friday that it will launch its first online store in India next week, as it seeks to increase sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets.
The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that the company “can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India.”
The Sept. 23 launch comes ahead of India’s major Hindu festival season beginning next month.
With a nearly 1.4 billion people, including millions of new Internet users every month, India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years.
In August, three contract manufacturers for Apple iPhones and South Korea’s Samsung applied for large-scale electronics manufacturing rights in India under a $6.5 billion incentive scheme announced by the government.
Apple assembles some smartphones at Foxconn and Wistron’s plants in two southern Indian states.