British Airways will sell at least 10 works of art that normally hang in its executive lounges, turning to pieces by famous artists like Damien Hirst to raise millions of pounds to help it through the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline has come under fire from British politicians for plans to cut 12,000 jobs. But with planes grounded and no revenue, it says the job losses are necessary because travel demand is set to shrink in coming years.
As well as Damien Hirst, the BA collection includes works by Peter Doig and Bridget Riley.
The idea of selling them came from a BA staff member, a source said.
At least one work has been valued at more than £1m (€1.1m).
BA boss Alex Cruz said last week that with its parent company IAG - which also owns Aer Lingus and Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling - burning through £178m (€197.9m) a week, he could not guarantee BA’s survival and urged unions to engage over the job cuts.
One union, Unite, last Thursday escalated its clash with BA, saying it was in talks with the EU Commissioner for Competition about its opposition to the acquisition by IAG of Spanish airline Air Europa.
BA has said it is taking steps now to reduce up to 28% of staff numbers to protect as many jobs as it can in the long term.