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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
BA boss rules out forced job cuts
British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh
Willie Walsh says he will work closely with the unions
British Airways' new boss has ruled out making compulsory redundancies as the airline looks to make further savings.

Willie Walsh said he did not "see any requirement" for compulsory job cuts as BA tries to save 300m by 2008.

"Going forward we have the chance to slim down through natural attrition," the BA chief executive told the BBC.

Unions have expressed fears of huge job losses as BA contends with soaring fuel costs and moves its Heathrow operations to the new Terminal 5 in 2008.

No job target

The focus will be on having the right numbers
Willie Walsh, BA chief executive

But Mr Walsh said he would work closely with unions to ensure that the airline had the right number of staff to deliver a world class service.

"We have not put a target on any job numbers," Mr Walsh said.

"Terminal 5 will give us the opportunity to get greater efficiencies. The focus will be on having the right numbers."

Mr Walsh started work as BA boss on Monday after spending four months working alongside his predecessor Sir Rod Eddington.

He was previously chief executive of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

Business class

BA is planning to spend about 300m on consolidating its existing Heathrow operations at the new Terminal 5.

Mr Walsh has previously said the move would enable the airline to tackle existing working practices which were "completely irrelevant" to enhancing customer service and safety.

The carrier is to spend more than 100m on improving its facilities for business customers on long-haul flights, Mr Walsh added.

It plans to launch its new business-class seat, which will convert into a full flat bed, before the end of the year.




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