British Airways is reported to have made “significant progress” in negotiations with unions over restructuring and cost-cutting plans.

Chief executive Alex Cruz said in a letter sent to staff seen by The Times that the airline had signed an agreement in principle over the future of parts of its workforce.

The deal does not apply to cabin crew, but covers engineers and staff at Heathrow.

Referring to talks with the GMB and Unite unions, he said: “I am pleased to report we have made significant progress with both unions which will help us save jobs and mitigate the impact of redundancies.”

The carrier confirmed last week that more than 6,000 redundancies would be voluntary but trade union Unite claimed a further 4,000 compulsory job losses.

The pilots union Balpa accepted a deal in July which will see 270 out of 4,300 BA pilots take redundancy while those remaining will have 20% pay cuts reducing to 8% over two years. The airline had threatened the loss of 1,255 pilot job losses.

The carrier, which has been hit hard by the slump in the aviation sector that followed widespread lockdowns and the grounding of flights, had planned to cut up to 12,000 jobs, almost a third of its workforce.

The progress in talks over jobs at BA came after Heathrow, the airline’s London base, reported an 88% decline in July passenger traffic and prompted boss John Holland-Kaye to renew calls to replace quarantine from high risk countries with testing for Covid-19.