BMI is to cut 178 pilots from its mainline and regional operations, according to union representatives who are aiming to limit compulsory redundancies.
The UK carrier is planning to shed 129 mainline pilots and 49 pilots at BMI Regional as part of a restructuring plan which entails at least 600 job losses.
British Airline Pilots' Association general secretary Jim McAuslan says the union "understands" the loss-making carrier's situation.
"But we are going to work hard with the company to limit the number of compulsory redundancies," he says. "We have done this successfully in other airlines, using a number of imaginative options like early retirements and part-time working."
BMI's restructuring plan has also sparked a strong reaction from the Unite union, which met with airline representatives today.
While Unite accepts that the decision is an indication of the problems within the air transport industry, national officer Brian Boyd says the cuts bring additional concerns - including doubts over the future of BMI Regional, based in Aberdeen.
"Unite understands the need to cut costs but job losses seem to be the knee-jerk reaction," he says, adding that it will be "seeking assurances" on the prospects for the Aberdeen base.