Airline to seek Irish graduates of languages


BRITISH Airways said yesterday it would look for language graduates in Ireland as part of a 5,000 job recruitment drive. The company said it needed the new staff to make Gatwick Airport its European hub and for general expansion.

Some 2,000 of the jobs will be for cabin crew but the company said would also be hiring experienced and trainee pilots, along with staff in customer care, information management, telesales, catering and cargo.

"We'll be advertising in the Irish newspapers and we expect a high response," said a company spokeswoman. "We recognise that because Ireland has such a good track record in producing graduates who speak foreign languages, there will be many high quality applicants."

The company believes it will have to process at least 50,000 applications in Britain and Ireland.

The recruitment drive forms part of a plan by the airline to funnel more passengers through Gatwick Airport, making it a major European hub. The move has been forced upon the company because there is no room for expansion at London's premier airport, Heathrow.

British Airways chief executive, Mr Bob Ayling, said this week than next month the company would be serving more destinations from Gatwick than Heathrow. "By any measure, our expansion at Gatwick has been spectacular," he said. "Within two years, we will have created almost 2,000 new jobs at Gatwick."

British Airways is also implementing an efficiency programme and expects 5,000 of its 55,000 employees to take early retirement by the end of the century.