by B. N. Sullivan
BMI Group, which operates the UK-based low fare airline bmibaby, is planning a restructuring that will cut flights on certain bmibaby routes, and reduce the carrier's fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft by five in 2010. In conjunction with the downsizing, 54 pilots and 82 cabin crew stand to lose their jobs. BMI managing director Crawford Rix indicated that 22 management and support positions are "at risk for redundancy" as well.
Crew members at risk for losing their jobs are currently based at Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. At the same time, though, another ten pilots and 15 cabin crew will be needed at East Midlands due to the restructuring. At this point, it is unclear if some of the crew members at risk for redundancy would be repositioned to East Midlands.
Reuters, quoting a statement from the Unite union, says that Unite "would be working to stop compulsory redundancies at the airline." BBC News also reported that "discussions had been started with staff and union representatives with a view to minimising job losses where possible."
The BBC quoted Brian Boyd, Unite's national officer for aviation, who said: "Today's announcement casts further doubt over the whole bmi group as its new owners Lufthansa search for cost savings.
"Unite members are once again caught at the sharp end of business restructuring," Boyd commented.
BMI Group, the parent of bmibaby, is in turn owned by Lufthansa.