British Airways cancel almost 100% of flights in pilot strike

British Airways has told passengers that if they have a flight booked on Monday and Tuesday, it is likely they will not be able to travel as planned (Picture: PA)
British Airways has told passengers that if they have a flight booked on Monday and Tuesday, it is likely they will not be able to travel as planned (Picture: PA)

British Airways says it has had to cancel ‘nearly 100%’ of flights after pilots began a 48 hour strike over pay today.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), are taking their first ever industrial action against the airline, grounding hundreds of flights.

Up to 145,000 passengers will be affected by the flight cancellations, with BA usually operating up to 850 flights a day.

Many have been offered refunds or the option to re-book their flights on another date or with an alternative airline.

Heathrow airport will be worst affected as it is the busiest hub for BA.

The airline has said it was ‘ready and willing’ to resume talks with the union, but there is little or no sign of the deadlock being broken.

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The company says it has offered a pay rise of 11.5% over three years, taking the pay of some captains to more than £200,000.

File photo dated 21/07/17 of British Airways aircraft at London's Heathrow airport. The Government is being urged to intervene in the dispute between pilots and British Airways ahead of strikes which will ground flights. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday September 6, 2019. Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) are set to walk out next Monday and Tuesday in a row over pay. See PA story INDUSTRY BA. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The company has offered passengers discounts and the option to fly on alternative airlines (Picture: PA)

However, Balpa says its members wanted a bigger share of the company’s profits.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: ‘British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard.

‘They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times.

Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.’

Mr Strutton called on the company to ‘negotiate a way forward’ and accept that pilots would not be ‘bullied or fobbed off’.

He added: ‘The company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff.’

Passengers queue in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport after nearly 800 flights were cancelled at the airport yesterday due to heavy snowfall and others were subject to long delays.
‘Nearly 100%’ of flights have been cancelled due to the strike action (Picture: PA Archive)

Balpa said the strike will cost BA £40 million a day, claiming the dispute could be settled for £5 million.

Earlier today, British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz was asked on Good Morning Britain how he could justify his own pay increase from £830,000 last year to £1.36 million this year, which is significantly more than the 11.5% being offered to staff.

Mr Cruz said the company was in a far better position today than in previous years, which meant it could offer ‘above inflation pay rises to all staff’ and that more than 90% of BA employees had already accepted the pay deal being offered by the company.

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A BA spokesman said: ‘We understand the frustration and disruption Balpa’s strike action has caused our customers.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 20, 2013 14-month-old Amelia Down sits on the lap of her mother Helen (L) as she receives the combined Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination at an MMR drop-in clinic at Neath Port Talbot Hospital near Swansea in south Wales on April 20, 2013. - Measles cases are skyrocketing in Europe and the disease is surging in four countries previously considered to have eliminated it, including Britain, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on August 29, 2019, urging countries to step up vaccination efforts. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty ImagesChildren should be banned from school until they’ve had their MMR

‘After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.

‘We remain ready and willing to return to talks with Balpa.

‘Nearly half of Balpa members joined BA after the 2008 economic crash so they did not make any financial sacrifices.

‘Since then, the aviation industry has become ever more globally competitive. We have had to make some difficult decisions to create the strong financial platform we now have, and which provides stability for our entire workforce, including pilots.’

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