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BA to hire thousands of crew amid signs of industry recovery


British Airways is planning to rehire thousands of staff following the lay-offs caused by the pandemic, according to the union Unite.

Unite says the airline is looking to rehire about 3,000 cabin crew after BA slashed around 10,000 jobs – a third of its workforce – during the travel shutdown last year.

BA has not confirmed the number of new hires it will take on, but has announced that it is advertising new cabin crew roles starting next summer.

“The airline has already contacted people in the company’s existing talent pools, which holds the details of people who left the business last year but have expressed an interest to return to the airline, when jobs are available,” reads a BA statement released on Wednesday.

“In addition to the experienced crew members looking to return, the airline is also appealing to a broad range of people to create the most diverse crew workforce in its 100-year history.”

To incentivise new starters, the airline is also waiving its policy around the need to do six months at the airline before accessing staff travel.

BA recently announced that it would be increasing and adding new flights from the UK to South Africa from November, while it has resumed services in recent months to Nairobi, Dubai and Antigua.

The airline’s chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said: “After 18 long months of closed or restricted borders across the world, we are finally seeing a demand for travel return as countries start to open up and ease their restrictions.

“This means that we can finally get back to doing what we do best – flying our customers around the world. As we look ahead to next summer, we are excited to start welcoming brilliant new people and former colleagues back to the British Airways family.”

The news comes as the British travel industry begins to see signs of movement, with the UK removing 47 nations from its red list of no-go destinations, and countries such as Thailand, India, Singapore and Chile all announcing roadmaps towards opening up to fully vaccinated travellers.

Yesterday’s announcement that vaccinated British travellers will be able to purchase cheaper lateral flow tests in place of costly PCRs from 24 October is also expected to release pent-up demand for travel.

Speaking at ABTA’s 2021 Travel Convention earlier this week, the travel body’s chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Two summers and one and a half winters have been written off, and only now are we starting to see the thaw. It’s too early to speak of recovery, and I’m acutely aware of how many of our members are still perilously close to the cliff edge. But there are signs that the darkest clouds may be breaking up.”

The chief executive of tourism association Etoa, Tom Jenkin was less optimistic, saying at the end of September: “I don’t know what the dawn is going to look like. I think it is going to be gradual. It will occur, but I think my members would be very, very happy if we saw a full recovery by 2023.”

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