British Airways plans to outsource 1,400 jobs at Newcastle and Manchester call centres

British Airways is considering outsourcing over 1,000 UK-based call centre jobs in a bid to cut costs. The move could put around 1,400 jobs at its call centres in Newcastle and Manchester at risk as the carrier owned by International Airlines Group (IAG) seeks to deliver savings by shifting jobs offshore or cutting the number of people needed.

The airline has invited bids from outsourcers to assess the call-centres.

The flag carrier had already called on firms that operated as outsourcers to look at its contact centre business and bid for the jobs and had also asked third-party firms to submit proposals that included cost-effective solutions.

A BA spokesman confirmed that the company was reviewing the operations of the company's call-centres at Newcastle and Manchester, which employed around 900 and 400 staff, respectively.

The spokesman added, however, that the move would ensure that the airline was using the latest technology to help deliver effective services to customers. He further added that any decision in this regard would be taken by the company only after consultations with staff and union representatives.

Describing the review as "a slap in the face" for the FTSE 100 giant's call centre employees, Unite, the UK's biggest trade union called on BA to refrain from the outsourcing plan.

BA, which had come under pressure to slash costs to compete better with low-cost carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair, had adopted a few cost cutting measures in the recent past which included ending free food and drinks on short-haul economy flights.

The carrier had earlier this year, said it would join no-frills airlines Ryanair and easyJet in charging passengers for mid-air meals.

BA would sell M&S sandwiches, snacks and drinks on economy flights shorter than five hours from January next year under a new deal with the British retailer.

The airline was also pushing plans to squeeze an extra 52 seats on its Boeing 777 flights by shrinking seating space from 2018.