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Flight disruption looms as BA pilots prepare for strike

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British Airways. PHOTO: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images<br />

Two weeks after the airline recovered from system glitch, another flight disruption is imminent on the network of British Airways (BA) as its pilots disclosed plans to embark on industrial action.

The industrial action, in protest against welfare package offered by the airline, will occur on September 9, 10 and 27, with attendant flight disruption on the entire BA’s network, including Nigeria.

The airline in a message to customers said: “If you have a flight booked with us on those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel due to British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA’s) strike action. We will be offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date.

“We’re very sorry about the impact BALPA’s action will have, and we’ll do everything we can to get as many people as possible away on their journeys.”

BALPA said the airline had rejected its proposals to resolve the standoff and it had “no choice but to call this action”. The airline said it had offered a three-year deal of 11.5 per cent that had been accepted by other BA employees, and it would continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action”.

The union said 93 per cent had voted in favour of industrial action and there was no prospect of further meaningful talks. It urged the airline to seek an agreement but warned that further strikes were possible.

The strikes are likely to cost the airline about £40 million a day; they take place in what is British Airways’ centenary year.

BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, said he was “sad and disappointed” by what he called a totally unnecessary strike.

He said: “The blame lies squarely at the door of the pilots’ union, BALPA. I personally believe BA pilots are the best in the world. But I think they have been very badly served by the union.”

More than 500 flights were cancelled or delayed as a result of a systems failure early this month.

In the latest in a series of operational problems to hit the airline and the travel plans of tens of thousands with holiday and business plans, London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and City were the airports most affected by the computer failure. BA refused to reveal the number of flights affected but according to Flightstats.com, which tracks arrivals and departures, by 5.30pm the airline had cancelled 140 flights and a further 370 had been delayed on day one.


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