A message claiming the airline service, British Airways, is permanently shutting down due to heavy business loss incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely circulating on Whatsapp.
This Whatsapp message is being shared with the above video claiming to be created by the airlines.
As a first point of verification, we searched through the British Airways (BA) website for any information that suggests their permanent closure. In their Coronavirus travel and service updates section we came across updates on new protective measures introduced by the airline and more. Last updated on 26 June at 15:20 (at the time of writing this fact check), this section does not include any information on permanent closure of their services.
BA published a press release on 2 July, 2020 on their website’s media centre stating that the Airways reopens its routes throughout July.
Next, we looked up their social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for any posts that suggest the closing of BA. Again, we couldn’t find any information related to this on these platforms.
In fact on 20 June 2020, BA posted a video on their official Youtube page saying they look forward to welcoming people back on board. The description reads:
“In the past few months, we’ve all been missing the people and places we love. When the world opens up once more, we are looking forward to welcoming you back on board…”
Verifying the claim video
Through a reverse image search of certain video frames as well as a keyword search on Youtube, we came across a channel named Unite the Union Yout which seems to have originally posted the video in context on 14 June 2020. Its description reads:
“British Airways has applied to dismiss all of its staff from 15 June 2020. Before we leave you, the staff of British Airways would like to say thank you and goodbye. #WeAreBA”
On 9 May, this account posted a video titled “A message to British Airways from its staff” after the company announced its plan to lay off thousands of staff members in order to restructure. We found this account to be impersonating another Youtube channel called Unite the Union which is the trade union representing BA’s stewards and stewardesses. The former has copied the actual trade union’s logo as seen below.
Let’s note that the airline has recently been in news for firing 350 of its staff and putting another 300 staff members in a pool for rehire when needed, reports The Sun. A couple of weeks back a Transport Select Committee Report accused the airline of taking advantage of the pandemic after they announced a massive restructuring which would include 12,000 layoffs and changes to the terms and conditions of remaining staff.
As a final confirmation, we directly reached out to British Airways, who confirmed with us via email that BA is not shutting down its services and the video in context was not created by them.
You can read our other fact checks related to COVID-19 pandemic here.
After receiving official confirmation from British Airways, we can safely say that the airline is not shutting down its services.
- Reverse image search
- Twitter advanced search
- Google advanced search
If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.