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British Airways to hire 4,000 in reversal of Covid era cuts

British Airways plans to replenish its depleted workforce with as many as 4,000 new employees by next summer as it prepares for a wider rebound in air travel, Chief Executive Officer Sean Doyle said.

The IAG SA unit will add pilot, cabin-crew, ground-staff and back-office posts, Doyle said in an interview Monday. BA currently employs about 30,000 people, so that the move would boost headcount almost 15%.

“We’re actively recruiting,” Doyle said on a flight to New York from London. “It’s exciting to be rebuilding the airline and to be creating opportunities again after two years where we haven’t been able to fly much.”

After slashing about 10,000 jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, BA now faces a tighter labor market as it seeks to rebuild staffing and capture its share of the travel rebound. The airline has been negotiating with unions to revive short-haul operations from London Gatwick airport on a lower-cast basis, while ramping up flights from its Heathrow hub after the U.S. lifted border curbs.

Still, BA reached agreement last week on another 1 billion-pound ($1.4 billion) credit line to provide a buffer for further Covid-related shocks. Demand for Asian flights meanwhile remains depressed amid slow vaccine rollouts there.

Other aviation firms are struggling to recruit staff after Covid-19 roiled employments markets. Heathrow, gearing up to add hundreds of staff, has seen a number of drivers poached by Amazon.com Inc. and has also lost some engineers, CEO John Holland-Kaye said last month.

Many British Airways staff not directly engaged in aircraft operations are currently working from home at least part of the week and Doyle said the company will review that situation after consulting on their needs.

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