BA struggles to clear pension fund deficit

British Airways is reportedly drawing up radical plans to tackle its £1.4bn pension deficit, one of the largest in the FTSE 100.

According to weekend reports, BA staff may be asked to increase their contributions, accept lower payouts or, under one controversial option, take cash incentives or pay rises in return for opting out of the final-salary scheme.

Tackling the deficit is a top priority for Willie Walsh, the new chief executive who took over from Sir Rod Eddington last week.

Walsh would not be drawn on details, but said the deficit had to be dealt with. “What we need to do is to make sure everyone understands why it is there and what we need to do to ensure we can provide our people with some degree of certainty and security,” he told the Sunday Times.

BA last year nearly doubled its contributions to £225m, but the deficit still rose by £205m to £1.4bn.

The airline has started a three-month staff consultation programme to discuss the proposed changes.

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