British Airways mulls selling Waterside headquarters

Mar 19, 2021

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British Airways isn’t set on having its office staff return to its Heathrow Waterside headquarters on a regular basis. And since it’s not expecting all 2,000 of its staff who worked at the head office before the pandemic to return, it’s considering selling the building, according to the Financial Times.

“It’s not clear if such a large office will play a part in our future,” British Airways said in a memo to staff.

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The sale of the building would help the cash-strapped airline make up some financial ground. Over the course of the pandemic, BA has altered its feet strategy namely by retiring its remaining Boeing aircraft. Additionally, it’s done away with more than 10,000 jobs across the company. It’s also taken to selling some of the artwork in its airport lounges to increase cashflow.

“We’ve re-structured our business to emerge from the crisis and are considering whether we still have the need for such a large headquarters building,” a spokesperson for British Airways said in a statement.

Waterside from above. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Waterside HQ building was completed in 1998 and cost £200 million. It’s also the headquarters of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, among others.

In the future, British AIirwyas sees its head office employees working in a hybrid model — a flexible split between home and office work.

“We’ll want to consider what the ideal office layout for the future will be,” BA’s Director of People Stuart Kennedy said in a message to staff. “Perhaps it’s less fixed desks and more casual meeting areas, and we need to consider colleague wellbeing, too.”

The future of Waterside was already in question. If Heathrow’s third runway goes ahead — which BA is supportive of — it would require the demolition of the Waterside building.

Featured photo by View Pictures/Getty Images.

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