BA says it is joining the “community fight” against the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it has had  “an overwhelming response to our request for volunteers from across British Airways”.

Last week Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic unveiled plans for thousands of its furloughed workers to staff temporary critical care Nightingale field hospitals, and with BA now having agreed furlough terms for over 30,000 of its workforce, the carrier has published its own plans.

BA said that “The current reduction in the number of flights means British Airways is in the position of having thousands of cabin and flight crew with more time available and an appetite to volunteer”, adding that “Their advanced first aid qualifications, combined with their natural passion for looking after people, means that they can bring both technical training and natural kindness to a range of desperately needed roles for a range of organisations, including the NHS”.

The carrier has been in talks with organisations including the NHS Helpforce team, St John Ambulance and the London Ambulance Service for staff to volunteer in a number of roles, and is encouraging colleagues to sign up to the British Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteer network, or to volunteer for charities such as Age UK and food bank providers including The Trussell Trust.

BA is also donating on board wash bags, socks and blankets to various NHS Trusts, and crew for British Airways and other airlines have set up ‘Project Wingman’ at the Whittington Hospital in North London, where NHS workers “are welcomed into a mini first class lounge for a cup of tea and a chat during or after a busy shift”.

Money raised through the carrier’s Comic Relief Flying Start campaign is being used towards a Covid-19 response, reaching out across the charity’s network “to communities hardest hit and most in need, such as those who are experiencing domestic violence or homelessness”.

Commenting on the news Louise Evans, British Airways’ director of external communications and sustainability, said:

“We’re part of the fabric of Britain and we want to play our role in these unprecedented times. Thanks to the nature of our business, we can contribute a unique set of skills from advanced first aid training, to experience caring for and reassuring people to managing complex logistics – all of which can deliver real care within the community.”

Organisations wishing to request help from British Airways can contact [email protected].