As British Airways prepares to make thousands employees redundant, the global airlines plans to put up for sale some of its renowned art collection in order to generate some cash to meet the severe drop in business because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Art valuers have been called in by the airlines and it is now planning put up for auction at least 10 major pieces of art, the value of some of them is as high as more than £1 million.
Art works by British artists including Damien Hirst, Peter Doig, Anish Kapoor, Chris Ofili and Tracey Emin are present in the collection of British Airlines. There are some art pieces that have been on display at the airline’s Waterside headquarters near Heathrow. But a large number of the 1,500 artworks in the collection of the company have been displayed on the walls of the executive lounges of the airlines.
However, the lounges are likely to have more austere decor in future as there are some analysts who believe that the lucrative business travel market may never get back to the levels that were seen before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
A number of works held by BA have been for a potential imminent sale by Sotheby’s, according to the Evening Standard. The report noted that one of the pieces is by Bridget Riley, currently displayed at the airline’s Heathrow executive lounge, which has been described as a masterpiece by some art critics and that piece is likely to be put up for auction as well with expectations that it will be able to raise millions for the struggling airline.
The majority of the fleet of planes of British Airways is grounded because of the novel coronavirus related crisis just as most of the other major airlines as well as other industries linked to the aviation sector.
When the British Airlines had notified that unions it was planning redundancies, a promise to “take every possible action to conserve cash” was made by Álex Cruz, the airliner’s chief executive. On June 15, the minimum time period for consultation for up to 12,000 redundancies will get over which means that the airline can potentially start slashing off some jobs. The company has however said that it does not plan to start laying off employees on that date,
While no official comment on the auction of the artwork was available from British Airways, reports quoted company sources saying that nothing that could help save money and jobs was being ruled out by the company. The idea for selling off some of the artwork had potentially stemmed from employees when they were asked by the management about how to reduce costs and generate income.
“We are acting now to protect as many jobs as possible. The airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy,” British Airways said officially.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)