British Airways pilots are being advised by their union to borrow £25,000 each to prepare for a long strike over their pension scheme.
The British Airlines Pilots Association (Balpa) said it is getting ready for an all-out strike of its 2,822 British Airways members.
The airline will announce plans by the end of March to cut the cost of its main pension scheme, which has a deficit of at least £900m.
The pilots are particularly worried about the possibility of the scheme being changed from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme.
Pilots often earn more than £100,000 in their last years of employment with the airline. The union is concerned that such a change would lead to some members facing a 36% cut in their eventual pension.
Balpa has also employed a team of actuaries and accountants to go through the company accounts and pension schemes. It wants to be in a position to challenge any claims by the airline that the deficit is not its fault, or that it cannot afford to make extra payments to plug the hole in the scheme’s finances.