British Airways says it has been forced to cancel “nearly 100%” of its flights as the first day of a two-day strike by its pilots – the first for 40 years – gets under way on Monday (9 September).
Around 4,000 of BA’s pilots will walk out over Monday and Tuesday (9-10 September), grounding in excess of 1,500 flights at an expected cost of around £40 million a day to the flag carrier.
BA has advised passengers not to travel to their departure airports unless they have alternative arrangements, with the overwhelming majority of passengers having been made aware of the potential strikes weeks in advance.
Pilots union Balpa has been in dispute with BA for several months over pay, with the union claiming BA is failing to adequately reward its pilots for the role they play in delivering BA – and owner IAG’s – record profits.
IAG made around £3 billion last year, up 9%, some £2 billion of which was contributed by BA. Its pay offer, believed to be worth around 11.5% over three years, was rejected by Balpa’s BA members in July.
While both BA and Balpa say they are ready to return to talks, both claim obstinance on the other’s part.
BA says Balpa is refusing to agree to talks without preconditions, while Balpa says BA repeatedly refused to reconvene at government conciliation service Acas late last week.
Balpa has another 24-hour walkout scheduled for 27 September.
Most of BA’s UK flights on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled. There were a number of cancellations on Sunday to allow BA to reposition aircraft and crew, and there are expected to be knock-on effects on Wednesday (11 September) as well as a result of Balpa’s action. Further cancellations are likely and could be unforeseen.