British Airways pilots have voted to accept a package including job and pay cuts as the airline contends with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) announced on Thursday that its members voted by 85 per cent in favour of accepting the pay cuts to avoid a larger number of redundancies.

The union said there will be around 270 compulsory redundancies and temporary pay cuts starting at 20 per cent and reducing to 8 per cent over two years – before falling to zero over the longer term.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Our members have made a pragmatic decision in the circumstances, but the fact that we were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies is bitterly disappointing.”

Balpa said the package it helped negotiate was in response to BA’s formal notification of 1,255 pilot job losses and the threat to fire and rehire the remaining pilots on worse conditions.

A BA spokesman said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone at British Airways and we are grateful to Balpa and our flight operations team for the work they have done to reach this agreement and save hundreds of jobs.

“Today’s financial results show the enormous challenge British Airways faces as it contends with the impact of the global pandemic and government travel bans, reducing demand for travel very significantly.

“We do not expect our company to return to 2019 levels of business until at least 2023 and therefore we need to act now to reshape our company for a very different future.”

It comes after Air France announced it will cut 7,500 jobs after the majority of its flights were grounded during Covid-19.

Workers warned that the job cuts will ripple across the French economy, and said bailout funds should be used to rebuild the company instead of pushing people into unemployment.

Airlines around the world are forecast to lose 84 billion US dollars this year, with revenue halved.

Additional reporting by the PA Media.