British Airways pilots strikes ground nearly 1,700 flights

The pilots have launched the biggest walkout in the airline’s history

Thousands of travellers are facing disruptions as British Airways pilots have launched their 48-hour walkout. The biggest strike in the carrier’s history has reportedly caused the cancellation of around 1,700 flights so far.

British Airways has warned passengers not to even come to the airport. In an update on its website this morning, the airline said it is “extremely sorry” that the strikes are going ahead, despite “many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute”. 

 

“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 per cent our flights,” the airline stated. 

“Our customer teams — supported by additional colleagues — have been working tirelessly to help as many of you as possible and to provide options, including a full refund or re-booking to a different date of travel or alternative airline.

“We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.”

Pilots are demanding higher salary increase

The pilots are protesting the proposed salary increase by 11,5 per cent. Currently, their average wage is £150,000 per year. Balpa demands another £5m to the salary budget. 

Balpa said the strike is “a clear message to the company’s managers that they will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits”.

After negotiations broke down, the union said its argument is with “the company’s highly paid management and not with passengers”.

In a brief statement released on Sunday, BA said that they are ready to meet with the union. 

“We understand the frustration and disruption Balpa’s strike action has caused our customers. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this. “We remain ready and willing to return to talks with Balpa,” BA said. 

Another walkout is scheduled for 27 September.