Airlines slash IT staff

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Airlines slash IT staff

Nick Huber
IT staff in the airline industry face a bleak winter as airlines slash jobs following the slump in passenger demand triggered by last month's terrorist attacks in the US.

Last week, hundreds of British Airways IT staff became the latest economic victims of the US attacks, when the airline announced 7,000 job cuts across its business and a 10% reduction in flights.

Although BA refused to comment on the number of IT staff affected by the job cuts, sources close to the company said that about 150 full-time IT staff have been sacked.

BA has imposed a spending freeze on new hardware and software in the wake of the US crisis. It is also reviewing suppliers' terms and conditions.

The job losses cap a turbulent year for BA's IT staff. Last year the company outsourced its airline reservation and departure control service and overhauled its IT department, creating new strategy and operations divisions.

Then this summer, BA announced it was to lay off 100 contractors to reduce external IT spend. Some of the work carried out by the UK contractors will be taken over by workers in India.

Concern over IT jobs extends throughout the sector. Swissair IT staff face an uncertain future after the airline grounded its fleet in the face of multi-billion-pound debts. And last month Virgin Atlantic announced a 13% reduction in its workforce, with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

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