British Airways Cabin Crew Strike Causing Numerous Flight Cancelations


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British Airways Cabin Crew Strike Causing Numerous Flight Cancelations

By Bill Goldston

May 31, 2010 - British Airways continues to operate at a significantly reduced schedule. Day 12th of the strike, of the 333 flights British Airways had scheduled to operate by 9 AM 121 were cancelled, 20 of these were long haul which included flights to major and lucrative destinations including New York, Newark, Boston, Tel Aviv and Johannesburg and 101 Eurofleet flights were cancelled. 

On the 11th day of the strike British Airways cancelled 123 of its 290 scheduled departures. 21 long haul flights had been cancelled, as well as 102 Eurofleet short haul routes. Among those routes cancelled are flights to LA, Phoenix, Johannesburg and many of the domestic flights including those to Manchester and Glasgow, as well as flights to key business destinations such as Geneva and Charles de Gaulle.


British Airways is now using smaller aircraft, which allows the carrier to fly with fewer cabin crew members. This allows British Airways to increase the number of its departures. The Airbus A319 aircraft normally accommodates 120 passengers. However, since British Airways is flying with 95 passengers or less, the airline is only required to have 2 cabin crew members. No meals or in-flight service is provided during these flights.

At present British Airways is chartering out many of its fights to Aer Lingus, Qantas and Finnair. 16 departures will be operated by charter airlines, 40 operated by codeshare, competitor airlines. Striking crew have reported that British Airways managers are calling them at home offering them much sought after trips to destinations such as Rio or Hong Kong in an effort to entice them back to work next week.

The British Airways cabin crews 20 day strike is a result of a long-running dispute over imposed changes to crew numbers and working practices. 80.7 per cent of all those who returned their ballot forms voted yes to industrial action on a 78.7 per cent turnout. 7,482 of crew members balloted voted yes with 1,789 crew voting no; 11,691 ballot papers were issued. At conservative estimates the strike is costing British Airways ?7 million per day or ?98 million so far.


"On what planet does it make sound business sense to spend shareholders' and investors' money this way, or to allow this instability to drag on?  The solution lies with Willie Walsh. He must waste no further time or resources but instead work with us to settle this strike" said Tony Woodley Unite joint general secretary.

British Airways has reported that they will ?increase its flying schedule during Unite?s threatened five day strike (May 30, 31 and June 1, 2, 3) after more cabin crew than expected decided to work as normal during this week?s industrial action.

?The airline will be increasing its Heathrow longhaul schedule to more than 70 per cent of flights (up from more than 60 per cent this week). It will be increasing its Heathrow shorthaul schedule to more than 55 per cent of flights (up from more than 50 per cent this week). The airline will continue to fly to every shorthaul destination on its network.

?Due to the numbers of crew wanting to work normally at Gatwick, all flights will continue to operate as scheduled during the very busy half term break as families fly out to many popular holiday destinations. Flights at London City airport will also operate as normal.

?At this stage British Airways expects to fly more than 75 per cent of customers who hold a booking between May 30 and June 3. This equates to around 65,000 customers flying each day. Many thousands more will be able to use seats we have secured on more than 50 other airlines to reach their destination, if they still wish to travel or be rebooked onto an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days. Refunds are also available for customers whose flights have been cancelled.

?The airline will continue to lease up to eight aircraft from other UK or European airlines to supplement its shorthaul schedule at Heathrow".
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