British Airways was hit fairly hard by its pilot strike today. In fact, excluding wet-lease operations, the airline operated just one flight from London. The lucky flight was BA7, a flight from London to Tokyo.
It’s been a pretty miserable day for British Airways. The airline faced its first of two days of strike action by pilots. Typically a British Airways aircraft takes off or lands somewhere in the world every 90 seconds. Today this was considerably less. In fact, at 21:30 there were just four British Airways flights in the sky. This included two wet-leased aircraft as well as British Airways operated BA7 to Tokyo and BA16 from Singapore. BA City Flyer services are unaffected by the strike.
BA7 London – Tokyo
British Airways flight BA7 from London to Tokyo was the only flight operated by British Airways crew to depart from London today. The flight flew from London to Tokyo and was presumably full of passengers heading to the Rugby World Cup.
The aircraft departed from London Heathrow at 11:56, 16-minutes after its scheduled departure time of 11:40. Passengers onboard the flight must’ve been pleased with their experience at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 however.
With just ten flights departing from Heathrow today, one can bet that the queue at security went incredibly quickly. British Airways warned people against traveling to the airport with a canceled flight, and it looks like most people headed this warning.
British Airways also operated several wet-lease flights today. Evelop’s Airbus A330 has been busy flying between London Gatwick and New York’s JFK airport. This aircraft has not been wet-leased to help with the strike as British Airways has been utilizing it since the 29th of August on this route.
The story is the same with the Air Belgium Airbus A340 which flew from London Heathrow to Cairo today. Air Belgium’s A340 has been covering the Cairo flight since 18th of August. This was before BALPA announced the strike dates on the 23rd of August. In fact, the aircraft has been drafted in to help cope with Boeing 787 issues. British Airways is still down some Boeing 787s following the Trent 1000 engine issues.
What about tomorrow?
Tomorrow another full day of strike action has been planned. As such, one should expect that almost every British Airways flight will no operate tomorrow. When Simple Flying contacted a British Airways spokesperson, we were told: “We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused our customers. 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.”
They went on to add: “Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 percent our flights.”
Was your flight canceled today? Were you able to make alternative arrangements? Let us know in the comments.