AN aircraft engineer who quit after he was demoted to a mechanic has won his claim for unfair dismissal against British Airways.

John Higgins, from High Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, worked as an aircraft maintenance supervisor for the firm. He was dismissed after he installed the wrong part on a plane at British Airways Maintenance Glasgow a year ago.

He appealed against the dismissal as he had an unblemished career prior to the incident and BA had recorded the error as having little or no risk to the plane's airworthiness.

Although his appeal was successful, British Airways would only agree to reinstate him as a mechanic, a position several grades lower that would see him lose his status as a licensed aircraft engineer.

Mr Higgins, who worked for the firm for 27 years, resigned and pursued a claim against the company, which he has now won.

He said: "It is essential that any moves to undermine the status of the licensed aircraft engineer are opposed.

"I could not have done this without the support of the union's Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers branch which has seen me through this very difficult time."

claims he made protected disclosures to BA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over who was allowed to sign off on work carried out on aircraft.

Claims that he was sacked after raising safety concerns over procedures at British Airways were thrown out by the tribunal.

A BA spokeswoman said: "We are pleased that the whistleblowing claims were not upheld, but we are disappointed with the outcome of the tribunal. We feel we acted fairly and properly throughout and await a full written decision. We will then decide if an appeal is appropriate."