UK - British Airways has blamed administrative problems for delays in setting up a defined contribution scheme to replace its New Airways Pension Scheme.
The problems have forced BA to postpone the closure of the £9.8bn New Airways Pension Scheme until March 31 next year.
Pensions manager John Birch said the time needed to set up a DC scheme was longer than first envisaged, but stressed the problem was purely administrative.
BA’s money purchase scheme – which was due to open this autumn – will now be launched on April 1 next year.
Birch added: “As recruitment is low – and is likely to remain so while NAPS remains open – not many new joiners will be eligible to join NAPS over the next four months.”
Meanwhile, BA is continuing to enhance NAPS.
In the past month technical pilots’ stopover allowances and ground staff’s shift pay have been made pensionable.
BA chief executive Rod Eddington said both moves were made to reflect anomalies in the scheme rules.
A source at British Airways says that these measures could be a way to improve FRS17 figures ahead of the scheme’s triennial evaluation next March.
*The Association of British Airways Pensioners is on the verge of taking BA to the pensions ombudsman over what it claims was an unapproved change to scheme rules. A review of the claim is being made by the association’s solicitors before it is handed in to the ombudsman.
The ABAP is contesting the inclusion of a clause in scheme rules which allows BA to use any surplus to secure early retirement benefits.
BA has indicated that it will fight the matter through to the High Court, if necessary.
This week's edition of Professional Pensions is out now
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