British Airways grounds nearly all flights as pilots strike

Daniel Fowler
September 11, 2019

The strike has the potential to affect 1,45,000 passengers that it carries daily, says the airline's website. BA has cancelled almost all of its flights and around 280,000 passengers have been instructed to not go to airports.

For the next 48 hours, members of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) have said they will strike due to a dispute over pay.

Thousands of passengers will be disrupted this week as around 4,000 pilots from British Airways (IAG.L) start two-day strike action on Monday (9 September) - the biggest walkout in the airline's history.

BA boss Alex Cruz apologised to passengers for the disruption and insisted the airline had worked tirelessly to contact everyone affected by the strike to offer alternative arrangements. While both the union and the airline said they are willing to hold talks, nothing has been scheduled at this point.

The union said it would be cheaper for BA to meet its demands than face down the strikes as the action cost it 40 million pounds a day. "British Airways has been offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date to travel". The union insists that now that BA's financial performance has improved - its parent company IAG reported a 9% rise in profits a year ago - they should see a greater share of the profits.

"The commitment of everyone at British Airways is to get over this particular dispute as quickly as possible and we urge the union to sit down with us as quickly as we can so we can reach an agreement", he told BBC radio.

"We have been in negotiations about this particular issue since November past year", a spokeswoman for the union said in an email to The Times.

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Stuart Lloyd, Travel Expert at Columbus Direct commented: "Many of those heading off on holiday this week will experience severe disruption due to BA's pilot strikes". A further strike is scheduled for September 27.

The union turned down a proposed 11.5 percent pay rise for the forthcoming three years with the reasoning being they feel their workers are being shortchanged when pilots took a pay and productivity cut 10 years ago during the airline's loss-making years.

British Airways is part of the OneWorld alliance which includes 13 global airlines including Qatar Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific and SriLankan all of whom operate to various cities here and also fly to London from their own bases.

British Airways is one of the nation's most recognisable and prestigious brands.

BA is said to only operate one flight itself to Australia - from London to Sydney via Singapore - and according to the Herald, Monday's flight arrived just after 5am.

BA and its 4300 pilots have been locked in a dispute that could disrupt the travel plans of almost 300,000 people over the two days. They are advised to keep receipts for these extra costs, and BA said it would look at refunding them on a case-by-case basis.

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