Gatwick is the UK’s second busiest airport.

One in five flights that come and go are British Airways flights.

At peak times of the year BA operates 180 flights a day from the airport.

For now the BA fleet here is grounded.

The airline is indicating said flights may not resume here even when borders reopen and restrictions are lifted.

In an email to staff, Adam Carson, the airline’s Managing Director at Gatwick, wrote: “As you know, we suspended our Gatwick flying schedule at the start of April and there is no certainty as to when or if these services can or will return.”

On Tuesday, BA warned that the company has never seen a downturn this deep before, that a recovery would take years and that the airline needed to shrink to match the anticipated slump in demand for air travel.

The airline said it planned to lay off up to a quarter of the workforce.

According to the unions, in addition to making 12,000 people redundant, British Airways also wants its 30,000 other staff to accept less generous terms and conditions and, in many cases, lower pay.

Earlier this week, BA said it was making 12,000 people redundant. Credit: PA

We have seen correspondence from British Airways informing cabin crew, engineers, head office, terminal and call centre staff, that they will be dismissed if agreement on the proposed changes can't be reached.

Interestingly, the company does not make the same threat to pilots.

Tonight the head of the Unite Union, Len McCluskey accused BA of opportunism.

“They’ve told the whole workforce ‘sign worse contracts, take less pay or you will be sacked’.

"BA is using this crisis to make the airline richer.

"They are a disgrace,” Mr McClusky said.

“They obviously believe that this is when the workforce is at their weakest and they can take advantage of it.

"Well, they’ll be in for a rude awakening because the anger from all of our members will be incredibly strong."

British Airways declined to comment

Two days ago the chief executive, Alex Cruz, insisted the airline needed to “act decisively now to ensure that British Airways has a strong future”.

It’s now clear that the proposed cuts are even more drastic that first thought.