British Airways is to keep most of its £200m headquarters near Heathrow empty as part of its unprecedented cost-cutting campaign.
Waterside was completed 22 years ago, at a time when BA was prodigiously profitable – with the low-cost European rivals and Gulf carriers still very small-scale.
It is by far the most opulent airline HQ in the UK, but has been largely empty since lockdown with staff working from home.
Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website Head for Points, is reporting that British Airways staff are moving out in the coming week.
The report says the global operations team, including senior management, will move to Technical Block C at Hatton Cross.
This is located at the eastern end of Heathrow airport, and was where the airline’s corporate HQ was located until 1998.
Mr Burgess said: “It is very clear that British Airways is leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to cut its costs, even if this means leaving its flagship head office building for many months.
”It is a sign that the airline expects the recovery from coronavirus to be longer and harder than it first imagined.
“Moving the management team into a concrete block above an engine paint shop will also send a signal about how everyone is in it together.“
A spokesperson for BA said: “ We are exploring every option to control our costs. We have a large property estate and we are always seeking ways to manage it in the optimum way.”
Waterside is on the edge of Harmondsworth, and is expected to be demolished if the third runway at Heathrow airport goes ahead.