British Airways has begun to cancel flights during its pilots’ planned strike on the 27th of September. The airline is taking action now in order to give customers as much certainty as possible. BALPA, the pilots union, has, however, called the cancellations irresponsible and inconsiderate.
British Airways pilots are striking in a row over salaries. The airline has offered pilots an 11.5% pay increase over the next three years. Despite union bosses shaking hands with the airline on a deal, it was not accepted. As a result, pilots walked out on Monday and Tuesday this week.
What led to strikes?
British Airways has to negotiate a new pay deal with all of the unions. In the end, it proposed an 11.5% pay rise over the course of three years. This is a deal which the airline says 90% of staff have agreed to, and are already receiving. The problem lies with the pilots belonging to the BALPA pilot Union.
BALPA members did not approve of the deal. Instead, the pilots voted for strike action back in July. The airline reports that it shook hands with BALPA management over the 11.5% deal a month ago. However, this was ultimately rejected, and the strikes by pilots went ahead.
The first British Airways strikes took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The strike saw British Airways effectively grounded for two days. Over the course of the strike, only one British Airways aircraft carrying passengers departed from London. This flight flew to Tokyo in Japan for the Rugby World Cup.
On the second day of the strike, no British Airways aircraft took off from London with passengers onboard. An Evelop Airbus A330 did fly from Gatwick to New York, while an Air Belgium Airbus A340 flew from Heathrow to Cairo. These two aircraft had already been wet-leased and continued to operate as their pilots were unaffected by the British Airways pay deal.
British Airways pilots currently have one more day of strike action planned. This is scheduled for the 27th of September, and as such, British Airways has begun to cancel flights. They want to give passengers notice as early as possible, rather than cancelling on customers on the day.
BALPA has criticised British Airways for cancelling flights before meeting with them, claiming that the airline is trying to dodge paying compensation under EU-261 regulations. However, we spoke with British Airways who told us,
“We have put forward new ideas through ACAS this week and have called on BALPA to meet us face-to-face as soon as possible to return to negotiations. However, we need to give our customers certainty, so have contacted all those affected by the union’s strike on September 27.”
Are you due to fly on the 27th of September? Has your flight been cancelled? Let us know in the comments.