British Airways cancels 'all flights' from UK over pilot strike

Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 08:15 IST | Agencies

The union cited issues such as pay cuts and the loss of annual leave days as reasons for the strike. It estimated that the strikes would cost the airline about PS120 million, or roughly USD 147 million

British Airways cancels 'all flights' from UK over pilot strike
British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow Airport. File pic/AFP

British Airways on Monday said it was forced to cancel all flights operations for today and tomorrow (Tuesday) after it's pilot union went on strike over a heated pay dispute with the airline. "We put forward a proposal to BA management last Wednesday that would have enabled us to call off the strikes for Monday and Tuesday," the British Airline Pilots Association wrote on Twitter. But the "BA didn't reply," the post added. Responding to the tweet, the British Airways said in a statement today that it was "ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA."

"We understand the frustration BALPA's (British Airline Pilots' Association) strike action has caused our customers. After months of trying to resolve pay dispute, we're extremely sorry that it has come to this. We remain ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA," the statement said. The statement read that the airline was forced to cancel so many flights because "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."

Customers who had flights booked for Monday and Tuesday will likely "not be able to travel as planned," it said. Members of the pilots union voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike in July. The BALPA said last week that it would be willing to call off the strike if the British Airways returned to the negotiating table. The union cited issues such as pay cuts and the loss of annual leave days as reasons for the strike. It estimated that the strikes would cost the airline about PS120 million, or roughly USD 147 million.

The pilots' union also intends to strike on September 27. The Airways has said that it will be in contact "in the next few weeks" to let customers who are travelling on or around that date know if they are affected. While the union is calling for higher wages, British Airways has said its offer of an 11.5 per cent increase over three years is "fair" and above the United Kingdom's current rate of inflation. In a statement released last month, it said the strike could "destroy the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers." It called the strike "a reckless course of action."

3 lakhs
Number of flyers to be affected

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