Reacting to the news that low fare carrier bmibaby is set to close, pilots' union Balpa has hit out at the decision by Flybe (part owned by British Airways) to move into former bmibaby routes without consulting staff.
General secretary Jim McAuslan warned his union would "use whatever means we can" to protect jobs.
Bmibaby pilots are disappointed and frustrated that, even though there appears to be potential buyers, we are prevented from speaking with them to explore how we can contribute to developing a successful business plan.
The frustration has now turned to anger following the news that Flybe has moved onto many of these bmibaby routes without any opportunity for staff to look at options and alternatives.
Balpa's priority is to protect jobs; and we will use whatever means we can to do so."
– Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa
Colin Whyatt, of the GMB union, said: "This is absolutely devastating news which puts 800 jobs at risk, almost half in the East Midlands.
"bmibaby had been reorganised last year and GMB members hoped it would be sold. Two potential bidders have pulled out and unless a new bidder comes forward in the next 90 days, these jobs will go, on top of 1,200 jobs lost from the reorganisation of BMI."
We recognise that these are unsettling times for bmibaby employees, who have worked tirelessly during a long period of uncertainty.
bmibaby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100 million in the last four years. In the consultation process, we will need to be realistic about our options.
To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby's flying programme from June. We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes.