British Airways has provided cash refunds on 921,000 tickets for 2.1 million flights, its parent company’s chief executive has said.

Chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), Willie Walsh, wrote to the chair of the transport committee, Huw Merriman, where he noted a further 47,000 bookings are still being processed.

He added that 346,000 bookings were cancelled by customers in return for a voucher.

Walsh also said British Airways is to continue with restructuring plans that could mean up to 12,000 job losses, despite the extension of the UK’s furlough scheme.


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He said the state support – which is now in place until the end of October – would not compensate for “the reality of a structurally changed airline industry in a severely weakened global economy”.

“I want to confirm, therefore, that we will not pause our consultations or put our plans on hold,” Walsh wrote.

Walsh’s letter, seen by a host of national newspapers, has been interpreted as a response to Merriman’s call in the Commons and on social media for BA to “put these redundancy plans back in the hold where they belong”.

The IAG boss used his letter to repeat his criticism of Boris Johnson’s 14-day quarantine plans, saying: “The prime minister’s decision to quarantine people arriving in the UK, by air, and the health secretary’s comments that it was unlikely that ‘big, lavish international holidays’ were going to be possible this summer, have seriously set back recovery plans for our industry.”

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