BALPA Calls Out Government For Ignoring Industry In ‘Death Spiral’

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has called out the British government over a £2bn ($2.46bn) plan to…

BALPA Calls Out Government For Ignoring Industry In ‘Death Spiral’

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has called out the British government over a £2bn ($2.46bn) plan to promote walking and cycling during the current COVOD-19 crisis. In a statement released over the weekend, the UK’s top pilots union issued a combative statement asking how the government could fund outdoor activities when the airline industry was in a death spiral.

BALPA is complaining about the government not doing more to help the airlines. Photo: Getty Images

This latest complaint from BALPA comes on top of criticism of the government for announcing a 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering the United Kingdom from abroad. Exceptions will be the Republic of Ireland and France. We can assume that France has been given an exception to the rule because they, unlike the United Kingdom, already have a two-week quarantine in place.

The United Kingdom plans to start its quarantine of people entering the country sometime later this week or early next, yet so far, no official announcement has been forthcoming as to when it will start and finish.

The government wants people to cycle or walk to work

When speaking at the United Kingdom’s coronavirus press briefing on Saturday, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps pledged £250m ($308m) to improve the country’s cycling and walking infrastructure as part of the £2 billion plan. According to the BBC, Shapps said,

“Whilst it’s crucial that we stay at home when the country does get back to work, we need to ask those people to carry on cycling or walking and for them to be joined by many others as well.”

coronavirus, IATA, aviation impact
Passengers arriving in the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Photo: Getty Images

The government wants more people to walk or cycle to work as it knows that social distancing rules would make it impossible for everyone to use public transport. The funding is for bicycle and bus-only corridors along with pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, and safer junctions.

BALPA wants money for airlines

In response to the government’s proposal, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) Brian Strutton said,

 “The aviation sector is already facing 23,000 job cuts, with the potential for many more in the weeks and months to come. The government’s proposed 14-day quarantine proposal for incoming international travelers will put even more pressure on the industry for the foreseeable future, and dispute repeated promises; we’ve seen not a single penny in dedicated, bespoke support for airlines.

 “Given all this, British pilots will be absolutely aghast and frankly furious at £2bn being found for ‘walking and cycling’ when the airline industry, which is so vital to the UK economy, is dying before our eyes.

 “When will the Government recognize that the British airline business is in a death spiral and intervene to support this vital industry and stop the jobs cull?”

Wizz Air, Ryanair, Easyjet
Furloughed UK airline workers are getting 80% of their salary paid by the UK government. Photo: Getty Images

Looking at it from a government perspective, the move to promote cycling and walking is a good thing. It is not money being used as a Band-Aid to solve a temporary problem but a long-term solution to get people to stop using cars. We have all noticed how much cleaner the air is during the COVID-19 lockdown and should be happy with this incentive.

Is BALPA right?

While BALPA is right to raise questions over why the UK government is not doing more to support the airline industry, it should perhaps not be at the detriment of a much-needed clean transportation scheme in the nation. Although the industry is desperately in need of more funding, does that have to be instead of the cycling and walking scheme?

KLM 747
Some KLM pilots make more than 200,000 euros per year. Photo: Getty Images

Around Europe, countries are pumping hundreds of millions, in some cases billions, of euros into their airlines. Spain yesterday called for a review of the methods involved, asking for a joined-up effort to ensure no airline is left more or less competitive in a post coronavirus world.

Currently, furloughed airline employees in the UK are receiving 80% of their salary under a government scheme. Westminster has also issued funding to both easyJet and IAG, but BALPA believes this doesn’t go far enough.

What do you think about the comments from BALPA? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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easyJet Founder Offers Reward For Airbus Order Whistleblower

easyJet’s founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has revitalized his campaign to get the airline’s Airbus order…

easyJet Founder Offers Reward For Airbus Order Whistleblower

easyJet’s founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has revitalized his campaign to get the airline’s Airbus order canceled. It is being reported that he will today make an announcement offering a bounty of £5m ($6.2m) to any ‘whistleblower’ willing to offer up information that leads to the cancellation of more than 100 of the airline’s 107 aircraft order.

easyJet’s founder has renewed his call for the airline’s Airbus order to be dropped. Photo: Getty Images

Stelios still unhappy with Airbus order

Like a dog with a bone, Stelios Haji-Ioannou is still on a mission to cancel easyJet’s £4.5bn ($5.5bn) Airbus order. The founder and principal shareholder of the low-cost airline has been bullishly demanding the order be dropped for several months now, threatening to oust directors and even the CEO if his voice is not heard.

Today, Sky News reports that Sir Stelios has taken a new tactic in his war against Airbus. The founder is expected to announce today that he will pay a reward to any ‘whistleblower’ in the easyJet ranks who supplies information leading to a substantial cancelation with Airbus.

Sir Stelios wants more than 100 aircraft slashed from the easyJet order, an order which currently stands at 107 aircraft, all Airbus A320neo family jets. At the beginning of April, the airline deferred delivery of 24 aircraft due to be delivered between this year and 2022, but as yet, no planes have been removed from its order books.

easyJet previously said it would make a decision on its Airbus order May.

Easyjet grounded
easyJet’s fleet is currently grounded amid the COVID-19 crisis. Photo: Getty Images

A £5m reward

Sky News suggests that it has been given advanced notice of an announcement due to be made later today. It says that Sir Stelios will offer a £5m ($6.2m) bounty for any information leading to the cancellation of the bulk of the Airbus order.

The publication states that he will ask for information to be submitted to him in confidence and via email, and that any past or current easyJet or Airbus employee can contact him. He will also ask for information from suppliers to the airline. Sky News says that he will announce,

“As the overwhelming evidence is that easyJet requires neither more loss-making planes nor massive liabilities, we need to establish why easyJet directors still want to pursue this route.”

easyJet coronavirus grounding
Stelios will pay £5m for information leading to an order cancelation. Photo: Getty Images

The £5m will come out of Sir Stelios’ own pocket and may be paid out in installments. He reportedly says that he is willing to make “stage payments,” estimated at around £10,000 ($12,000) for quick tips, with further payments to be made in order to maintain a dialogue with the whistleblower.

Legal bills covered

Sir Stelios also says he will pay any legal bills incurred by the informant, suggesting he is expecting a backlash from Airbus over the move. Sky News says he will further state,

“We are looking for small tips, anything from lavish entertainment at the Paris Air Show up to the equivalent of the QPR sponsorship fee.

“Any unexplained wealth and or any ostentatious spending by easyJet employees could also give us a hint.”

Haji-Ioannou has been hell-bent on proving that easyJet was a victim of the Airbus bribery case, something that the company admitted in January, leading to record fines. Airbus had to set aside €3.6bn ($3.9bn) to cover settlements with authorities in the US, France and the UK after confirming bribes were paid on an “endemic” basis to secure contracts for aircraft orders.

easyjet crew union talks getty images
easyJet has furloughed thousands of employees. Photo: Getty Images

While the founder and shareholder may well have a point, it must be the last thing easyJet needs right now. Thousands of staff are currently furloughed, and although the airline has secured a £600m ($740m) government-backed loan, it still has a long way to go to come back from the coronavirus crisis.

What do you think about Sir Stelios’ latest move to get the Airbus order canceled? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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