BA defended the move by saying that without its £172 million acquisition of the airline from Luftansa, all 2,700 of bmi’s employees would be out of work.

BA is looking into how the remaining 1,500 employees can be incorporated into the company. This includes around 1,100 cabin crew, pilots and engineers as well as 400 passenger services roles at Heathrow’s Terminal 1.

The British airline pilots’ association Balpa has also said it would allocate its resources to support the pilots affected.

Bmi’s head office at Castle Donington in Leicestershire will bear the brunt of the redundancies, along with regional airports.

BA’s parent company IAG bought the loss-making bmi last month after the purchase was cleared by the European commission’s competition regulators. The deal gave BA 56 more daily slot pairs at Heathrow, 14 of which will be taken up by other carriers.

Chief executive of British Airways Keith Williams said: “Bmi is heavily loss-making and is not a viable business as it stands today. Our proposals would secure around 1,500 jobs that would otherwise have been lost.”