Published: Wed, September 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

British Airways cancels flights as Pilots strike

British Airways cancels flights as Pilots strike

British Airways said Monday that it had been forced to cancel nearly all flights as a result of a pilots' 48-hour strike over pay.

The near-grounding of the British Airways (BA) due to the strike by its unionised pilots over pay issues, could have its cascading impact on the student community who fly to England for admissions around this time, warn the travel services industry.

The strike was called by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) amid a heated dispute over pay with the airline. The union is demanding "less than £5m more than British Airways previously offered", adding that one day of strike action costs the airline approximately £40 million.

With its pilots on strike for the first time, British Airways canceled nearly all of its flights Monday, affecting some 195,000 people slated to travel Monday and Tuesday.

The flagship airline was forced to cancel almost all flights during a 48-hour pilot strike after negotiations with the British Airline Pilots' Association deadlocked over salary, with tensions boiling over to a standstill on the runway.

"It is by all accounts an own goal", the airline's chief executive, Alex Cruz, told the BBC.

In a typical day British Airways operates up to 850 flights. BA says the offer would see flight captains receive "world-class" pay and benefits of around £200,000 ($246,000 or 220,000 euros) a year.

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British Airways says it has offered the pilots a pay raise of 11.5 per cent over three years, but the union says its members want a bigger share of the company's profits. Last year British Airways apologized for a data breach that exposed the personal information of customers involved in some 380,000 transactions; the year before, a series of IT failures caused chaos at its two major hubs out of London. It's worth noting that the subsequent strikes are for BALPA members only - it does not include Unite or GMB members.

The airline estimated that the two-day strike will affect 195,000 customers.

BA 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. The company said it understands the frustration of passengers affected by the strike.

Balpa's general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: "It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute". We are prepared to move on our position, but so far British Airways has said to me: "We are not going to budge", Strutton said.

"So, we had no option but to cancel almost 100 per cent our flights".

The airline's pilots have been locked in pay negotiations with the company since November past year. Following the strikes on September 9 and 10, another day of industrial action is scheduled for September 27.

"You have the option to take an alternative flight with the airline to your destination, or cancel your flight and claim a full refund".

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