SAS and British Airways Firing Employees

Written and Published April 29, 2020


Following the news and updates around the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines were forced to suspend or reduce their daily operations. We have the latest information from airlines and hotels all around the world. First, we saw the news that Virgin Australia had to file for voluntary administration, being the first large airline to fall under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. After that, it was announced that South African Airways is firing all employees. Also, Air Mauritius published an official statement on their Facebook page in which they announced that the carrier is entering voluntary administration. The carrier is unable to meet the current and future financial obligations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, SAS announced they will fire almost half of its employees and British Airways is following with a similar move.

SAS and British Airways Firing Employees

SAS Firing Employees


SAS announced that they will fire around 40% of the workforce. As the main reason, they stated the need to prepare for years of low demand. Scandinavian Airline System will give notices to 5,000 staff members, of which 1,900 in Sweden, 1,300 in Norway, and 1,700 in Denmark. The carriers' main rival, Norwegian Airways, pilot and cabin crew companies from Sweden and Denmark have filed for bankruptcy.

From the official press statement:
“COVID-19 has forced SAS to face a new and unprecedented reality that will reverberate not only in the coming months but also during the coming years. Our ambition is to continue to be the leading airline in Scandinavia and to have a leading role in the Scandinavian infrastructure as a guarantor of national and international connectivity. In order to continue this important societal function, we need to adapt our cost base to the prevailing circumstances. Regretfully, we are forced to adapt our workforce to lower passenger demand.” Said Rickard Gustafson CEO of SAS

SAS and British Airways Firing Employees

British Airways Will Fire Up To 12,000 Employees


In April we saw British Airways putting 22,626 employees in furlough. Parent firm International Airlines Group or IAG, which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, confirmed in its first-quarter results that British Airways will make 12,000 of its employees redundant. We also saw from the report a huge loss for the company of €535 million compared to a profit of €135 million last year. They also said that the next quarter loss could be significantly worse. They already slashed passenger capacity by 90% in April, and it is unlikely that the number of passengers will go up in the following months. You can find the first-quarter results from IAG here.

The airline's chief executive, Alex Cruz wrote an open letter to all the employees announcing that the carrier is preparing for a ‘different future'. In the following months, we will probably see more and more airlines making a similar move daily as the demand stays at an all-time low.

From the letter:
“We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers, and the destinations we serve. We have informed the Government and the Trade Unions of our proposals to consult over a number of changes, including possible reductions in headcount. We will begin a period of consultation, during which we will work with the Trade Unions to protect as many jobs as possible.”