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BA plans to fly over 70pc of passengers during strike

Categories: Leadership
BA plans to fly over 70pc of passengers during strike

British Airways (BA) has said it plans to fly more than 70pc of its customers during the first of four new strike periods by cabin crew, which were announced by the trade union Unite earlier this week.

The carrier said it will fly more than 60,000 customers on each of the five days of cabin crew’s first strike period, which is running from 18-22 May inclusive.

BA said today that all flights to and from London Gatwick will operate as normal during the first strike period, as will all flights to and from London City Airport, including services to and from New York.

Heathrow flights
At Heathrow Airport, BA said it intends to operate over 60pc of all long-haul flights and more than 50pc of all short-haul flights, and that it will add to this schedule wherever possible.

The airline said it would operate most of its revised short-haul schedule at Heathrow using its own aircraft and cabin crew, but will supplement this by leasing up to eight aircraft with pilots and cabin crews from five different airlines based in the UK and Europe.

BA also said it had made arrangements with more than 50 other carriers so that it can rebook customers during the actual strike period onto their flights, if they had been due to travel on a BA service which has been cancelled. 

Customers flying to/from Heathrow on a long-haul flight between May 18 and May 23 can now check their bookings on www.ba.com to see if their flight is still operating, BA said. Meanwhile the revised short-haul Heathrow schedule between 18-23 May will be available for customers on the carrier’s website from 10am this Friday, 14 May.

Cabin crews ‘voting with their feet’
“Unite’s leaders have deliberately targeted the busy half-term holidays to cause as much disruption as possible for hard-working families looking to spend some well-earned time away,” said BA CEO Willie Walsh (pictured).

“We are confident that many crew will ignore Unite’s pointless strike call and support the efforts of the airline to keep our customers flying,” he added.

Walsh said that BA’s cabin crews were “voting with their feet”, noting that due to the numbers of cabin crew telling the carrier they want to work normally since Unite’s latest strike call, the airline’s strike schedule is slightly larger than had been originally anticipated.

However, Walsh stressed that BA was still available to hold further talks with Unite: “We remain absolutely determined to resolve the dispute and our door remains open to Unite, day or night. It is not too late for Unite to call off this action and protect its members’ job security.”

The Unite trade union, which represents 12,000 cabin crew at the airline, announced earlier this week that BA staff are due to take four periods of strike action over the next few weeks:  May 18-22 inclusive, May 24-28 inclusive, May 30-June 3 inclusive and June 5-9 inclusive.

The further 20 days of strike action come following an overwhelming rejection in a ballot by cabin crew represented by Unite of the carrier’s offer to settle an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.  

Categories: Leadership