BA axes jobs and flights after jet wrecked in crash

BRITISH Airways is to axe 25 jobs and reduce services between Edinburgh and London after one of its planes was written off in a crash landing.

The plane was badly damaged after a heavy landing at London City Airport in February which led to 67 passengers and four crew being evacuated via emergency slides on to the runway.

Now BA has reduced the number of its daily CityFlyer services between Edinburgh and London from eight to six after taking the damaged plane out of service.

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The airline, which last week reported a pre-tax loss of 401 million for the year to 31 March, said it was also looking for 25 voluntary redundancies from CityFlyer staff working at Edinburgh and City.

A spokeswoman said: "The extent of the damage following the accident at London City Airport means that it's likely the plane will be written off by our insurance company.

"There will be one less aircraft as a result, so we are reducing services. We are looking for 25 people to leave by voluntary means and are in discussions with unions at the moment."

One member of staff, who did not want to be named, said the airline was using the damaged plane as an "excuse" to cut jobs.

He said: "The crew all feel let down by the company after all the commitment we have shown. Most of the redundancies are likely to be in Edinburgh.

"The crew believe the written-off aircraft is being used as an excuse, because the company are getting a new fleet of planes in September which only need two cabin crew, as opposed to the three currently working on flights at the moment."

The CityFlyer service, which operates between City Airport and destinations such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Amsterdam and Zurich, currently employs 95 pilots and 161 cabin crew.

BA said it was seeking voluntary redundancies among cabin and flight crew following the crash landing, which was caused when one of the plane wheels failed on a flight from Amsterdam.

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Four people were treated for minor injuries and one was taken to hospital as a result of the fault on the BAE Systems-manufactured Avro RJ100. Aviation writer Jim Ferguson said he was surprised by BA's decision to lay off staff rather than buy a replacement aircraft.

He said: "It doesn't make a lot of sense. Is this just a crafty way of trying to minimise the losses?

"Like many of BA's employees, I wonder if there are wheels within wheels on this decision."