MIAMI — Last week, British Airways confirmed that talks with its flight crew’s union, BALPA (Britsh Airline Pilots Accosication), had broken down once the syndicate released a statement calling for a major strike that will intentionally cripple the airline’s network.
The strikes have left travel plans for hundreds of passengers in trouble and have left widespread confusion and panic throughout the airline. Some passengers were told that their flight had been canceled, only to be clarified hours later that this was a mistake.
The news about the strike has seen widespread changes with some airlines hiking up their prices according to one report, cashing in on stranded passengers who are having their flights canceled.
The strikes have also seen moves from rival carriers such as Virgin Atlantic taking to Twitter to offer assistance on rebooking passengers who have been affected by the strikes.
What is British Airways doing about this?
British Airways has said that they are looking into a wide variety of solutions, with the carrier confirming that flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR, and Comair all not being affected by the planned strike dates on the 9th, 10th, and 27th of September.
One of the alternative measures that the airline is looking into is arranging passengers to be moved onto partner airlines. Also, British Airways might be looking at options of wet-leasing aircraft and crew from other operators, but as of this moment, there has been no confirmation or announcement from the airline on further developments with these plans.
“It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action,” said the airline in a public statement.
“BALPA has given us notice that they will strike on September 9th, 10th, and 27th. We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action.”
The airline added that it is progressively making changes to its flight schedule. “We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible. However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on canceled flights.”
How did British Airways end up here?
The proposed BALPA strikes are taking place because of a pay dispute it has with British Airways. The airline claims that it has presented a “very fair offer, well above the UK’s current rate of inflation” to the union, which, according to the airline, was accepted by the other two unions that represent the employees of British Airways (Unite and GMB).
Currently, Unite and GMB represent nearly 90% of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew, and ground staff.
Despite the fact that British Airways believes that the deal offered to BALPA is fair, the syndicate has pressed on with its intentions to strike. The airline had tried to block this action with a court appeal, but it was rejected.
The news announced with the strikes has left a grey cloud over the heads of British Airways who would have wanted to be celebrating its 100th Anniversary with better news than the announcement of a massive Pilot strike.
All in all, it appears British Airways are in a tight spot over the proposed strikes but the airline has said it will continue to work on and pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid the planned industrial action.