BA boss hits back: Alex Cruz defends plans to axe 12,000 jobs - and vows to bolster airline for survival

The boss of British Airways today launches an impassioned defence of his plans to axe 12,000 jobs and cut the salaries of pilots, cabin crew and other staff.  Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Alex Cruz hits back at the stinging criticisms he has faced from MPs and trade union officials over the past seven days.  He accused unions of 'scaremongering' and described criticisms levelled by MPs as 'partial and parochial'.  The MoS can reveal that Tory MP and Transport Select Committee chairman Huw Merriman is lobbying the Treasury to ban companies such as BA from announcing redundancies while their staff are on furlough and the taxpayer is funding their wages.  Merriman said he will this week ask for a meeting with Rishi Sunak to ask the Chancellor to close the 'loophole' in the Government's job retention scheme and force BA to wait until later in the year before proceeding with any redundancy plans.  Meanwhile, unions have accused Cruz of exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to enact a 'fire and rehire' strategy.  They claim that BA is exaggerating its cash crisis and using the pandemic as cover to bring back the bulk of employees on reduced terms and conditions.  In an escalation of the increasingly acrimonious row, Cruz rejects all the allegations, explaining that BA will 'emerge from the Covid-19 crisis a much smaller airline' laden with 'hundreds of millions of pounds of new debt' which will 'swallow' its revenues.  He writes: 'To suggest we are focused on anything but our immediate survival in the short term, plus a sustainable and competitive re-emergence for the longer term, is not true.  'Like other companies facing job losses, I do not want to deprive my people of their livelihoods.  'It is painful to contemplate the scale of the change we need to make because I know we have the best people in the business.