A British Airways Airbus A321.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has left British Airways (BA) fighting for its survival, Alex Cruz, the CEO of the airline, said Wednesday.
  • Cruz, who has taken a one-third pay cut, said BA is burning through £20 million (R420 million) per day.
  • Only 187,000 passengers flew with the BA on the week starting September 7, compared to 1 million this time last year, he told a government committee.
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The UK's flag-carrier airline British Airways (BA) is fighting for survival, its boss said Wednesday.

Its CEO Alex Cruz told a government committee that the coronavirus pandemic is "the worst crisis for BA," adding that the firm is burning through £20 million (R420 million) per day. He has taken a one-third pay cut, he said.

"COVID has devastated our business, our sector, and we're still fighting for our own survival," he said.

Only 187,000 passengers travelled with the company on the week starting September 7, he said, compared to 1 million at the same time last year. 

"We remain worried about the virus in the winter season. People are still afraid of travelling. We are having weekly changes to the quarantine list. All the data that we get are still pointing at a slow recovery process," Cruz said.

British Airways has joined other airlines in calling for a test-and-quarantine scheme between London and New York — the world's busiest intercontinental air link — that will "minimize the quarantine process" and encourage passengers to fly again. But the government says that there is no alternative to 14 days of self-isolation.

In April, British Airways announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce. Cruz described the job cuts on as an "impossible situation" on Wednesday, adding: "I deeply, deeply regret that way too many loyal and hardworking colleagues of mine are having to leave our business."

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