Active members

I am a member of APS:

  • If you have a single pension entitlement with us, your pension reference number will usually be your six-digit BA staff number preceded by “1”, for example if your staff number is 097132, your pension reference would usually be 1097132.

  • If you have more than one pension entitlement with us (for example, if you had two or more separate periods of membership or switched from NAPS1 to NAPS2), your pension reference number in respect of your first period of membership will usually begin with a “1”, your second period of membership with a “2”, and so on.

I am a spouse/partner or dependent of a member of APS

  • If you are receiving a single pension entitlement from us, your pension reference number will usually be your spouse or partner’s six-digit BA staff number preceded by a “2”, “3” or “4”.

You can find your pension reference number at the top of any letter or statement you have received from BA Pensions.

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To help us to give you the best possible service when calling the BA Pensions team, we ask you to enter your pension reference number. This ensures that we’ll have your pension records ready as soon as you are put through to one of the team.

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British Airways has confirmed that APS is not part of the current consultation.

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If you are still Active staff, you do not need to tell us about your change of address separately as we receive your address information directly from British Airways. You should update your details via People Online on the BA Intranet or via your local Admin Unit. We will normally receive your new address from British Airways two to three working days later.

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You should seek independent financial advice before making important decisions about your pension benefits. Neither BA Pensions nor the Trustee can provide financial advice but the following websites can help you find financial advisers in your area:

www.thepfs.org/yourmoney

www.unbiased.co.uk

www.vouchedfor.co.uk

You should always ask your financial adviser questions to identify any increased risks associated with how you may be considering accessing their pension benefits. The Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) has provided a useful guide on what to ask an adviser.

You can also take advantage of free impartial guidance which is available from The Pensions Advisory Service.

If you have APS AVCs that you have not yet drawn and the advice you receive qualifies as retirement financial advice, you can ask the Trustee to pay part of the cost of your advice from your AVC fund under the Government's Pension Advice Allowance scheme.

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Your pension is worked out as a percentage of your salary, based on the period that you've been a member of the Scheme (your Pensionable service).

Years of Pensionable service x your Retiring Pay
52 for Flying Staff or by 56 for Ground Staff
= Your basic pension

If you have chosen a different Build-up rate we will use this Build-up rate for the period you have been paying for the different rate.

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If you leave British Airways (BA) you will usually be entitled to a deferred pension which is due to be paid from your Normal Retirement Age under the rules of your Scheme.

Your deferred pension is worked out using a standard formula:

Retiring Pay x pensionable service
Divided by build-up rate
= yearly pension at Normal Retirement Age

Retiring Pay - this is usually the average of your pensionable pay over the last two years (or three years in APS Part 5) of pensionable service.

Pensionable service - this is the total number of days which we have used to work out your pension. In some cases this will be straightforward, representing the period from when you joined the Scheme up to your leaving date. In other cases this total figure is more complicated. For example, the following events will affect the total amount of pensionable service:

  1. Transferring benefits from a previous employer’s pension scheme or from a personal pension arrangement, which meant you were granted extra pensionable service in the BA Scheme.
  2. Changing occupation from flying staff to ground staff, or vice versa, during your pensionable service period.
  3. Changing from the standard build-up rate to a faster pension build-up rate - see the definition for pension build-up rate below.
  4. Any periods of part-time employment.
  5. Any period of unpaid maternity leave, for which pension contributions were not paid.

Pension build-up rate - this is the rate at which your pension builds up for each year of pensionable service in the Scheme. In APS there are two standard rates. For ground staff the standard rate is 1/56 and for flying staff it is 1/52.

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Yes, most people can exchange part of their pension for a lump sum when they retire. The Lump sum is tax-free under current legislation. The maximum amount is set by HM Revenue and Customs. We will write to you at retirement to let you know the maximum amount that applies to you. You can take any amount up to the maximum.

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Normal Retirement Age (NRA) is usually age 55 for Flying Staff and age 60 for Ground Staff.

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APS is a Final Salary pension Scheme. This means that your benefits are based on your salary close to when you leave or retire. The Scheme offers valuable benefits such as an Adult Survivor's pension, children's allowances, a Lump sum if you die whilst working at BA, ill health protection, and a pension at retirement, part of which can be exchanged for a tax-free lump sum.

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Pensionable Service is the period you have been a member of, and paid contributions into, the Scheme including any service transferred-in from other pension arrangements, periods of unpaid leave or temporary absence.

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This is calculated as the average of the best two years of Pensionable Pay in the five years before you leave the Scheme, retire or die. In APS Part 5, Retiring Pay is calculated as the average of the best three consecutive years within the six years before you leave the Scheme.

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Pensionable pay is made up of the elements of your pay (or notional elements of your pay) designated as pensionable by British Airways. Your standard Pension Scheme contributions are calculated as a percentage of this pay. We also use Pensionable pay to calculate Retiring Pay.

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You pay a percentage of your Pensionable pay into the Pension Scheme, which is deducted automatically from your monthly or weekly salary. You get tax relief on whatever you pay into the Scheme. If you make your pension contributions via the Company’s SmartPension salary sacrifice arrangement, you save on National Insurance contributions too.

In APS, you pay a standard rate of 7.25% (Ground Staff) or 8.50% (Flying Staff) of your Pensionable pay.

Since 6 April 2016, if you are under State Pension Age you also pay 3.1% of Band Earnings as a contribution to the Scheme unless you have chosen the 1/54 build-up rate (Flying Staff) or the 1/58 build-up rate (Ground Staff), in which case BA pays the 3.1% for you.

Flexibility in what you pay

Adult Survivor's pension

The standard pension package includes a pension for your spouse or partner or qualifying Pensionable Dependant when you die. If you do not want this cover, you can choose to pay 1.5% less by filling out the Adult Survivor's pension opt out form or by writing to us, giving at least one calendar month's notice.

Build your pension at a slower rate

If you are currently under State Pension Age (SPA) you can choose to build your pension at slower rate (1/54 Flying Staff, 1/58 Ground Staff) for future service. With this rate you pay the same Scheme contributions that you would pay for the standard build-up rate of 1/52 (Flying Staff) or 1/56 (Ground Staff) but BA then covers the cost of the additional employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs), currently 3.1% of band earnings, introduced following the launch of the government’s new State Pension arrangements from April 2016.

Put more on top of your BA pension

You can top up your retirement income by making additional payments called Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

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APS members currently have opportunities to change their Build-up rate from 1 April and 1 October each year.

Please complete the APS options form if you wish to change your Build-up rate.

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You can save Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) in order to provide an extra retirement pension. You can find further details at Put more on top of my BA pension.

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Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are a tax efficient way of saving for extra pension benefits at retirement. The AVCs are paid into an investment fund and grow with investment returns until you decide to draw them (which must be at the same time as, or later than, drawing your main Scheme pension). At retirement your AVCs can be taken as a Lump sum up to HM Revenue and Customs limits or they can be used to buy extra pension.

British Airways Pensions has three AVC funds for which members currently pay no charges. For more details see the AVC Plan - information leaflet.

You can save AVCs in two ways - SmartAVCs and/or normal AVCs and you can save either a fixed amount each week (if you are weekly paid) or each month (if you are monthly paid), or a percentage of your pay.

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SmartAVCs is an arrangement offered by BA and is a way of saving AVCs via a salary sacrifice arrangement. If you already participate in SmartPension for your APS/NAPS Scheme contributions, any AVC instructions you provide are automatically treated as SmartAVC instructions.

Your pay is reduced by your SmartAVC amount as a result. You save on tax and National Insurance (NI) and BA passes most of its NI savings to your AVC account in the form of an additional uplift, currently 10% of your SmartAVC amount. You can start, change or stop your SmartAVCs at any time during the year from the 1st day of any future month by sending us an AVC Options form. Written instructions must be received by the 20th of a month in order to take effect from the 1st of the following month. The full terms and conditions for SmartAVCs are contained in the SmartAVC Factsheet on the BA intranet.

Any one off lump sum AVC payment will not be treated as SmartAVCs and therefore will not benefit from NI savings and the 10% uplift from BA.

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If you are not in Smartpension, any AVCs you save will automatically be treated as Normal AVCs.

Normal AVCs do not qualify for any NI savings and do not benefit from the additional SmartAVC uplift from BA, which is currently 10% of any SmartAVC amount.

You can also make one-off lump sum payments. These will not be treated as SmartAVCs and therefore will not benefit from NI savings and the 10% uplift from BA.

You can start, change or stop the amount you save from the 1st of any future month by sending us an AVC Options form. Written instructions must be received by the 20th of a month in order to take effect from the 1st of the following month.

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You can usually start, change or stop AVCs from the 1st day of any future month by sending us an AVC Options form. Written instructions must be received by the 20th of a month in order to take effect from the 1st of the following month. You must be in SmartPension for your APS/NAPS Scheme contributions in order to start SmartAVCs during the year. You can join SmartPension once a year, currently on 1 October – see the BA intranet for more information about SmartPension. If you are paid weekly, make sure your instruction states what you wish to save on a weekly basis.

You can change the investment of your AVC funds as often as you like by sending us an AVC Investment Switch form. Instructions must also be received by 20th of a month for the change to take effect from the 1st of the following month. Any investment change will automatically apply to both SmartAVCs and normal AVCs you have saved.

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Yes, if you already participate in SmartPension for your APS/NAPS Scheme contributions, you can start SmartAVCs (or stop them if you are already saving SmartAVCs) at any time during the year from the 1st day of any future month by sending us an AVC Options form. Written instructions must be received by the 20th of a month in order to take effect from the 1st of the following month.

In a few special circumstances it may not be possible for you to stay in SmartAVC (for example, if you go on maternity or paternity leave or you go on unpaid sick leave). If you cease to qualify for SmartAVCs for these reasons, or any of the other reasons set out in the SmartAVC Factsheet, then your SmartAVCs would automatically change to normal AVCs. The additional NI saving amount from BA would not then be credited to your AVC account. You would automatically be re-enrolled in SmartAVCs at the first opportunity upon returning to work.

The full terms and conditions for SmartAVCs are contained in the SmartAVC Factsheet on the BA intranet.

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The 'I am working part time' page contains full details about how working part-time affects your pension.

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You can draw a pension straight away if BA authorises an ill health retirement. What if I fall ill?

If you have less than 12 months to live you may be able to receive all of your pension as a tax-free lump sum whilst continuing to provide a pension for your dependants should you die. What if I am seriously ill?

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You can either leave your pension with BA or transfer it elsewhere. You can choose to transfer at any time before your BA pension starts being paid to you.

If you leave your pension with BA we will calculate the pension you have built up to the date you leave. This is called a deferred pension and can be drawn as a normal, early, late or ill-health retirement pension. Your deferred pension will usually be increased each year in line with the Scheme rules between your date of leaving and the date you draw it.

Full details of your pension benefits and options will automatically be sent to your home address shortly after you leave.

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If you leave your job at age 50 or over, you can currently draw your pension straight away. 

From April 2010 the government raised the minimum retirement age to 55. However, APS members who leave British Airways and draw all their pension benefits straightaway – including any AVCs and Scheme benefits from previous BA Schemes - can continue to retire early with a reduced pension from age 50. APS members who opt out of the Scheme in order to draw their pension early will only be able to draw a pension from the earlier of their 55th birthday or the date their employment with BA ends.

The pension is calculated in the same way as at Normal Retirement Age but we use the Pensionable service only up to your early retirement date. Your pension will also be reduced because you will be drawing your pension for a longer period of time.

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Flexible Retirement allows members one opportunity at any time from age 55 to permanently reduce their working hours and at the same time to draw all or part of their pension benefits built up to that date.

Full details of the Flexible Retirement option are contained in the  Flexible Retirement Information Leaflet (APS)

Members who have passed their Normal Retirement Age (NRA) and elected to crystallise their pension can draw part of their pension under Flexible Retirement and will continue to receive late retirement increases on their remaining pension until final retirement. Full details of the Flexible Retirement option for members of APS and NAPS who have crystallised their pension are contained in the Flexible Retirement Information Leaflet (APS Crystallised).

The full terms and conditions for reducing working hours for Flexible Retirement are available on the BA intranet, together with the process for applying for line manager authority.

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The following benefits are available:

Lump sum death cover - If you die whilst you are still working for British Airways, your beneficiaries (in most cases the person named on your Notice of Wish) receive a lump sum broadly equal to three times the elements of your pay that British Airways deem to be pensionable plus any AVCs. If you work part-time, the lump sum is three times your part-time equivalent of your pensionable pay.

The Trustee uses your Notice of Wish as a guide when deciding who receives this money so you must keep this up to date. Distributing the lump sum benefit in this way means that the lump sum payment does not form any part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. If you have registered for online communications you can submit your Notice of Wish directly to the Pensions team by logging into Mybapension online and filling in the online Notice of Wish.

You can register for online communications at any time by clicking the 'Register' button, then following the on-screen instructions. If you have not registered for online communications you can print a Notice of Wish form from the 'Forms' page of this website.

Adult Survivor's pension under Final Salary - The pension is two-thirds of your basic pension. This is calculated by using the years and days that you have paid for Adult Survivor's pension cover (including any Adult Survivor's pensions that you have transferred in), plus half the time remaining between the date of your death and your current Normal Retirement Age, using the standard build-up rate of 1/52 (Flying Staff) or 1/56 (Ground Staff) or the lower build-up rate (1/54 Flying Staff, 1/58 Ground Staff) if you are building up pension at this rate when you die.

If you have chosen not to pay for Adult Survivor's pension cover then your spouse or partner will not get a pension. However, even if you have not paid higher contributions for this benefit, a legal spouse or civil partner may still be entitled to a minimum amount of pension as required by legislation.

Remember that if you work part-time we use your full-time equivalent salary and your part-time service in the Basic pension calculation.

Dependent children under Final Salary - Your children under 16 (or 23 if still in full-time education or seriously incapacitated) can receive allowances on your death. Each child's pension is 1/6 of your pension. Only two allowances are payable. However, the Trustee will spread the payments to more than two children if applicable.

If you die in service, the allowances are also worked out including half the time remaining between the date of your death and your current Normal Retirement Age. Children's pensions are paid even if you have not paid for Adult Survivor's pension cover. If you have paid for Adult Survivor's pension cover but there is no surviving spouse or partner, then the children's pensions will be trebled for the period you have been paying for Adult Survivor's pension cover.

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At Normal Retirement Age, you'll have several choices:

  1. carry on paying into your BA pension
  2. stop paying into your BA pension (if you stop paying into your APS pension, you can still continue to save AVCs)
  3. draw your pension and choose whether to keep building up pension for future service (Flexible Retirement)
  4. opt out of the Scheme and draw your pension straightaway or defer it and draw it later
  5. opt out of the Scheme and transfer your BA pension to another pension provider at or after Normal Retirement Age.

With options 2, 4, and 5. You can also choose to join the British Airways Pension Plan (BAPP) while you remain a current employee of British Airways. You can find more information about BAPP on the BA intranet.

For more information see I will work beyond Normal Retirement Age.

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If you chose to stop paying into your APS pension on or after your Normal Retirement Age and 'crystallised' your pension, you can choose to join the British Airways Pension Plan (BAPP) for future service whilst continuing to receive late retirement increases on your APS pension.

While your APS pension remains crystallised:

  • you are still covered for death-in-service lump sum benefits under APS but you do not also qualify for the lump sum death-in-service benefit from BA. However, EG306 benefits (British Airways’ discretionary death and accident benefit scheme) will apply while you remain employed by BA, regardless of your membership of APS.

  • you can save AVCs to the APS AVC plan (if you save any AVCs then both the amount of the AVCs you save and any late retirement increases added to your APS pension count towards the Annual Allowance).

  • You can make contributions to BAPP (you can save standard contributions in line with the BAPP rules and you can also save AVCs to BAPP).

If you cease to be a crystallised APS member (for example, if you decide to opt out of APS and draw or transfer out your crystallised pension), you will no longer be covered for death-in-service lump sum benefits under APS. However, while you remain employed by BA, you will qualify for death-in-service benefits arranged by BA. Please contact BA Reward via the 'FAQ/Ask for help' link on the ESS homepage (which you can access via the BA intranet using your BSAFE password) for more details.

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Every time your personal circumstances change you must complete a new Notice of Wish form. This is to give the Trustee a guide when distributing any death Lump sum benefits. Even if your circumstances don’t change, keeping the Trustee regularly informed of your wishes will ensure that your wishes are clear and up to date.

You should also send us your original birth and marriage certificates. These will be returned by recorded delivery.

If you are on unpaid maternity leave, your pension contributions stop automatically. When you return you will be given the option to pay contributions for the period of unpaid leave. If you choose not to make these back payments, that period of service will not count in your pension calculation and your pension at retirement will be lower.

If you decide not to return to work after parental leave you will be entitled to benefits as if you had left on the last day of your paid parental leave.

If you do not currently pay contributions towards the Adult Survivor’s pension cover (for example, if you have previously opted out of the cover or you are a woman who joined before December 1987 and didn't elect to pay for Adult Survivor's cover later), you can choose to pay higher contributions (an extra 1.5% of pensionable pay) to provide this cover for future service by filling out the Adult Survivor's pension cover opt in form or by writing a letter which includes your signature, giving at least one calendar months' notice. Being able to contribute towards Adult Survivor’s pension cover is subject to the Trustee receiving satisfactory medical evidence - a questionnaire will be sent to you when you send this form to BA Pensions.

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In the event of a member's death, a civil partner will automatically qualify for an Adult Survivor's pension. The Adult Survivor's pension is 2/3rds of the member's pension for all service for which Adult Survivor's pension cover contributions have been paid (the basic pension package includes cover for Adult Survivor when you die unless you have written to BA Pensions and asked not to pay for the cover or, if you are a woman who joined before December 1987 and didn't elect to pay for Adult Survivor's cover later).

If you have a common-law spouse or have a same-sex partner that you have not registered as your civil partner, your partner will not automatically be entitled to an Adult Survivor's pension. They can however apply for a discretionary Surviving Dependant's pension.

For more information, refer to the 'Surviving Dependant Registration Form'. Your partner would need to demonstrate that they were 'financially interdependent' with you (i.e. living in a relationship similar to marriage) or 'financially dependent' on you to a substantial extent in order for the Trustee to consider paying the Adult Survivor's pension to them.

It is important to note that if you die leaving a legal spouse or civil partner, any Adult Survivor's pension can only be paid to them (e.g. if you die having separated from your legal spouse or civil partner but had not legally divorced, the Adult Survivor's pension cannot be paid to any person other than your legal spouse or civil partner).

If you do not currently pay contributions towards the Adult Survivor’s pension cover (for example, if you have previously opted out of the cover or you are a woman who joined before December 1987 and didn't elect to pay for Adult Survivor's cover later), you can choose to pay higher contributions (an extra 1.5% of pensionable pay) to provide this cover for future service by filling out the Adult Survivor's pension cover opt in form or by writing a letter which includes your signature, giving at least one calendar months’ notice. Being able to contribute towards Adult Survivor’s pension cover is subject to the Trustee receiving satisfactory medical evidence - a questionnaire will be sent to you when you send this form to BA Pensions.

Registering your civil partner on your pension records

You should send us your original civil partnership or marriage certificate along with your partner's original birth certificate now. We always return original certificates immediately by Royal Mail recorded delivery.

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Every time your personal circumstances change you must complete a new Notice of Wish form. This is to give the Trustee a guide when distributing any Lump sum death benefits.

You should consult a solicitor for full details. However, brief details of the ways divorce can affect your pension are provided in the following leaflets:

a) Pension and Divorce

b) Pension Earmarking

c) Pension Sharing

Your husband or wife will continue to automatically qualify for any Adult Survivor's pension from the Scheme until or unless the marriage is legally dissolved.

The BA Schemes also offer the facility to nominate Adult Survivor's pensions to an ex-spouse after divorce. For more information, refer to the 'Surviving Dependant Registration Form'

The standard pension package includes a pension for your spouse or partner or qualifying Pensionable Dependant when you die. If you do not want this cover, you can choose to pay 1.5% less by filling out the Adult Survivor's pension opt out form or by writing to us, giving at least one calendar months' notice. Although any contributions you have paid towards the cover cannot be refunded, they will be included in any death lump sum payable from the Scheme if you die before you draw your pension.

If you get divorced you do not have to opt out of paying for the Adult Survivor’s pension cover. By maintaining contributions towards the cover, if you remarry in the future your spouse would benefit from the fullest cover possible.

Please note: The information provided is relevant only for divorces under UK law.

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A civil partnership ends only on formal dissolution or annulment, or on the death of one of the parties. The process for dissolution is court-based. Your partner will continue to automatically qualify for any Adult Survivor's pension from the Scheme until or unless the civil partnership is legally dissolved.

The standard pension package includes a pension for your spouse or partner or qualifying Pensionable Dependant when you die. If you do not want this cover, you can choose to pay 1.5% less by filling out the Adult Survivor's pension opt out form or by writing to us, giving at least one calendar months' notice. Although any contributions you have paid towards the cover cannot be refunded, they will be included in any death lump sum payable from the Scheme if you die before you draw your pension.

If you dissolve your civil partnership you do not have to opt out of paying for the Adult Survivor’s pension cover. By maintaining contributions towards the cover, you can ensure that any future partner would benefit from the fullest cover possible.

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This website has been designed to answer most of your queries. Also, your pension handbook is a valuable document which provides details on all your pension benefits (Member’s handbooks are held in the ‘Scheme documents’ page of this website.

The BA Touchdown team runs pre-retirement courses where you can come along and listen to the pensions team and other speakers. Visit the BA Intranet [PeopleOnline & MyLearning > search using the word "pension"] for further information and details on how to enrol.

If you want to contact the pensions team: Talk to us

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APS provides a good general package of benefits and options. If you are not a member of APS as a BA employee you can choose to join the British Airways Pension Plan (BAPP). Visit the BA Intranet for full details of how to join BAPP. There are also alternative pension and savings options available from the external market (for example, Stakeholder pensions, personal pensions and pension drawdown arrangements). If you wish to consider alternative pension provision we recommend you consult an independent financial adviser. APS is closed to new joiners so if you opt out you cannot usually rejoin.

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The pension Scheme monies are held in trusts. The APS trust is entirely separate from British Airways and BA has no control over the funds. That control is left to the Trustee. There are separate boards of Trustee companies for APS and NAPS to reflect the fact that the monies are held in separate funds and the membership profile of each Scheme is different.

The Trustee board consists of 12 APS Trustee Directors, 6 of whom have been elected by the membership.

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The Pension Scheme is managed by the Trustee for the benefit of the members.

There are 12 APS Trustee Directors, 6 of whom have been elected by the membership and 6 have been appointed by British Airways.

Two companies (which are not subsidiaries of BA) were set up to manage the Scheme on a daily basis. British Airways Pension Investment Management Ltd (BAPIML) based in central London, is responsible for investing all of the monies. The Trustee, following advice from its investment advisers, sets the investment strategy. The strategy determines the proportion of monies invested in different types of assets (for example company shares and bonds). Different investments provide different returns and the aim is to make sure the fund's investment returns match its liabilities (i.e. the benefits it has to pay out). It is BAPIML's role to decide daily what actual investments to buy or sell to meet this strategy. For more information on how the Trustee and BAPIML approach the key aspects of investment please read the Responsible Investment page.

British Airways Pension Services Ltd (BAPSL), is responsible for calculating and paying APS and NAPS benefits, dealing with membership enquiries and looking after all legal and financial matters for the Scheme.

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The responsibility for controlling the pension fund lies with the Scheme's Trustee.

To help it to invest all of the monies, the Trustee relies on the expertise of independent advisers. A separate company, British Airways Pension Investment Management Ltd (BAPIML) based in central London, manages the funds on a daily basis. BAPIML is not a subsidiary of BA. The Trustee sets targets for the types of investments to be held based on the expected income from them but it is BAPIML's role to decide daily what actual investments to buy or sell to meet those targets.

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