British Airways has warned it will take “some time” to restore its normal flight schedule following a two-day strike by its pilots – their first for 40 years.
BA confirmed to TTG around 150 of its aircraft – nearly half its fleet – are displaced, along with more than 700 pilots and 4,000 cabin crew following the walkout over Monday and Tuesday (9-10 September).
Affected passengers are being offered refunds or the option to rebook their journey on an alternative date and/or with an alternative airline.
BA was forced to cancel the “vast majority” of its flights during the strike, and had previously warned the walkout would likely have a knock-on effect on its schedule beyond Tuesday.
It does, however, expect to fly about 90% of its scheduled flights on Wednesday (11 September).
Pilots union Balpa has been in dispute for several months with BA over pay and conditions. Balpa says 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, worth 11.5% over three years, was rejected by Balpa’s BA members in July.
“With no detail from Balpa on which pilots would strike on 9-10 September, we had no way of predicting how many might come to work, or which aircraft they were qualified to fly,” said BA on Wednesday morning.
“We had no option but to cancel the vast majority of our flights on these dates. We are working hard to get back to normal and to get our customers to their destinations.
“The nature of our highly complex, global operation means it will take some time to get back to a completely normal flight schedule so there will be a knock-on effect over the next few days.
“We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to rebook to another date of travel or an alternative airline.”
BA has previously accused Balpa of 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. It said while the action over Monday and Tuesday “should be a wake-up call for BA”, it stressed “no further negotiations” with BA were planned.
“Pilots are standing firm and have shown just how resolute they are,” said general secretary Brian Strutton.
“British Airways needs to start listening to its pilots and come up with ways of resolving this dispute.”