The airline British Airways announced Monday 9th September 2019 the cancellation of almost 100% of its flights due to a strike of the pilots, the first of their history.
The airline British Airways (BA) announced Monday 9th September 2019 the cancellation of almost all of its flights in the United Kingdom because of a pilot strike, the first in their history, on wages.
“We have no choice but to cancel almost 100% of our flights,” the carrier said in a statement, adding that it was forced to do so in the absence of information from the Balpa union on the number of pilots on strike.
This strike is likely to affect more than 100,000 as the airline operates approximately 850 flights per day in the UK, mainly from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
On the other hand, London City Airport airport, popular with business travellers, is unaffected because its flights are managed by a subsidiary of BA.
British Airways had already warned its customers that they could probably not be able to travel Monday given the scale of the strike.
The company, owned by the Spanish-British group IAG, which also includes Spain’s Iberia and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, has offered travellers refunds or reservations on flights on other dates.
This is the first-ever strike in their history for British Airways pilots who must continue the march on Tuesday as well as on 27 September. About 93% of BA Balpa union members, around 4,000, voted for the strike.
The union decided to disengage after the failure of negotiations on wage increases. According to Balpa, pilots have made “sacrifices” in recent years and should benefit more from the good results of the company.
“After many months of trying to resolve the wage dispute, we are extremely sorry that this has resulted in that. We are ready to resume discussions with Balpa, “the company said in a statement.
British Airways has proposed a wage increase of 11.5% over three years, an offer that was refused by the union. According to the company, this would bring the salary of some captains to over 200,000 pounds a year.
On his Twitter account Sunday, Balpa explained that, according to his calculations, a strike day will cost BA 40 million pounds (44 million euros). A figure to be compared according to the union with the demands of the pilots, the difference between what the management proposes on wages and what they claim not exceeding 5 million pounds.
“Why is not she working with us to end this conflict? Balpa wondered.
British Airways is not the only airline to face a strike by its pilots. Some of those from Ryanair in the United Kingdom announced the continuation of their movement in September even though the disturbances were so far very limited.
In France, Air France was bogged down in months of conflict with its pilots on wages in 2018, resulting in many days of strike, before an agreement was reached last October.
The monster strike comes at a critical juncture for BA, the iconic, historic airline whose reputation has suffered in recent years, including the theft of financial data from hundreds of thousands of passengers last year.
The company was fined 183 million pounds in the case from the British regulator for the protection of personal data ICO.
And, in May 2017, a giant blackout had hit his systems because of a power problem that forced him to cancel 726 flights, or 28% of his planes for three days of an extended weekend.