British Airways, the flagship British carrier, is to lay off all the staff at its bookings call centre in Rome. The company has decided to reduce costs and encourage on-line booking, even though passengers travelling with British Airways to and through Italy have increased by 15 per cent in the past year and sales are up by 40 per cent. Staff at the Rome call centre are being offered a severance pay of approximately six months' salary, or are being offered a new contract in a British Airways sales office, in Bremen in Germany, in Newcastle or London in the United Kingdom, in Belfast in Northern Ireland or in Madrid in Spain. These options do not appeal to the call centre staff who have homes and families in the city.