British Airways Pilot Strike Grounds Most Flights
British Airways cancelled almost all of its flights on Monday after pilots voted to strike for the first time.
The strike started shortly after midnight on Sunday night and is due to end at 23.59 on Tuesday. The UK airline cancelled around 1,700 flights as a result of the walk out.
BA said it understood the frustration and disruption the strike has caused its customers, and that it had tried for “many months” to resolve the pay dispute with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) pilot union.
“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 of our flights.”
The airline said it remained ready to return to talks with the union.
BALPA said the strike sends a clear message that pilots will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits.
“The pilots, whose argument is with the company’s highly paid management and not with passengers, have walked out after earlier negotiations broke down and the company’s subsequent refusal to consider alternative proposals or get back together for further constructive talks,” a union statement said.
“Pilots are standing firm and have shown just how resolute they are today. British Airways needs to start listening to its pilots and actually come up with ways of resolving this dispute,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said.
The strike affects services operated by the British Airways mainline carrier, flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair airlines are not affected by the dispute.
A further 24-hour stoppage is scheduled for September 27 unless agreement is reached beforehand.