After 48 hours of strike action, British Airways pilots today donned their caps and jumped back into the cockpit. Flights still suffered from disruption today as the airline wound its operations back up.
The week got off to a pretty bad start for Britain’s flag carrier. Instead of its usual illustrious schedule, only two of the airline’s aircraft departed London over the last couple of days. One was a Boeing 777 filled with rugby world cup fans. The other aircraft was an empty Boeing 747 heading to maintenance yesterday. A couple of wet-leased aircraft also operated flights to New York and Cairo.
The strike is over – what now?
While passengers may be rejoicing that the strikes are now over, the celebrations shouldn’t come too soon. Only two of three strike days have so far taken place. In total, BALPA announced three strike dates, the 9th, 10th, and the 27th of September.
That means that should a deal not be reached soon, the third day of pilot strikes will take place on the final Friday in September. The vote for strike action is valid until January meaning that further strike dates could be planned going forward until the end of the year. BALPA is required to give a minimum of 14 days notice of any planned strikes.
What if a deal is made?
If a deal is made, it will mean that the strikes will be called off. However, British Airways will likely need to start cancelling flights shortly. Once flights have been cancelled it is unlikely that British Airways will reinstate them.
Once a flight has been cancelled in advance, there is little point in reinstating it. This is likely due to the fact that many passengers will have been booked onto alternate flights. If BA was to go ahead and run flights anyway, they would be largely empty.
What will happen now?
Both sides of the argument state that they are ready to go back to discussions. However, they need to get back to the table. BALPA argues that British Airways needs to return to the table with some meaningful proposals.
British Airways says that it is ready to return the table too. However, on the other hand, British Airways urges BALPA to return to negotiations without pre-conditions. It added, “We and the union’s leaders agreed and shook on a deal on Monday 12 August only for the union to backtrack on that agreement and return with new and unrealistic demands.”
Do you think the 27th of September strike will be called off? Let us know in the comments!