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Flag carrier British Airways (BA) has signed an agreement with trade unions GMB and Unite to temporarily suspend more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground staff as the coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread.

BA is making use of the UK’s Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme to help furloughed employees in the country.

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This scheme applies to the employees in April and May and allows them to receive 80% of their base pay and certain allowances.

The airline, which has grounded most of its fleet due to the outbreak, has been in discussion with the unions for more than a week, according to media sources.

The agreement is dependent on the consent by the unions. It currently employs around 45,000 people.

Earlier last month, the carrier revealed its plan to lay-off staff and ground more aircraft due to significant drop in travel.

Moreover, an agreement has also been reached between British Airways and its 4,000 pilots. The deal will see the pilots take unpaid leave for four weeks in April and May.

With the unpredictable nature of the evolution of the virus, BA owner IAG has decided to further reduce capacity to around 90% in April and May.

IAG has also cancelled its 2019 proposed final dividend and recommended to assign the entire 2019 fiscal year profit to the voluntary reserve.

These actions are being taken to decrease operating expenses and improve cash flow.

In the UK, numbers of coronavirus infection have reached 34,167 and death toll stands at 2,921.

Global confirmed cases on the coronavirus have reached 941,202 while the death toll is at 47,631.