IAG Chief Willie Walsh Wants British Airways Pilot Dispute Resolved

IAG’s CEO, Willie Walsh, has waded into the disagreement between pilots and British Airways management. The former CEO of British Airways told how he wanted the situation resolved.

British Airways, Pilot Strike, Willie Walsh
The airline’s pilots held 48 hours of industrial action in September. Photo: British Airways

British Airways is currently attempting to negotiate with pilots unhappy with a proposed pay deal. The dispute saw a 48-hour walkout of staff in early September. As a result of the walkout, British Airways only operated one passenger flight out of Heathrow in the course of two days. Now, British Airways’ owner has commented on the matter and hopes that the matter can be resolved amicably soon.

Why are the pilots striking?

The British Airways pilots staged two days of strike action to protest a proposed pay rise. The pilots had been offered a pay rise of 11.5%  across the course of three years. However, they are not happy with this offer. After failing to make a deal with British Airways’ management, the union saw no option but to strike.

British Airways, Pilot Strike, Willie Walsh
British Airways’ pilots are currently unhappy with a proposed pay offer. Photo: British Airways

However, it hasn’t all been bad news. The union had been prepared to strike across three days in September, however, the third day of strikes was called off by the union. This was in an attempt to hand an olive branch between the two strikes. Unfortunately, flights had already been canceled by this point.

What about Willie Walsh?

Willie Walsh appears to be in a tricky situation here. The former British Airways CEO is now the CEO of BA’s owners, the International Airlines Group. According to the Guardian, He claimed that it was a matter for British Airways’ management to sort out commenting,

“Alex is the CEO. He’s the boss, he has responsibility.” However, Walsh added that the situation is “frustrating for me at times”.

British Airways, Pilot Strike, Willie Walsh
Willie Walsh is hopeful that the situation can be resolved soon. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Indeed, in late September IAG revealed that they expected to take a €137 million hit from the industrial action. Mr Walsh seems sure that an agreement is possible between the two sides. He did, however, say that he would’ve likely handled the situation differently as a former pilot.

Mr Walsh added “I would like to see this issue with the pilots resolved, I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interests for it to continue. I’d encourage the BA management team to get involved.” Following BALPA’s vote to strike, the airline reserves the right to hold additional days of industrial action up until the start of 2020, when British Airways is set to start offsetting carbon emissions from all domestic flights.

When contacted for a comment on the situation, British Airways said: “We remain ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA.”

Do you think the issues will be solved before further strike action takes place? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!