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Mon, Mar 22, 2010

British Airways Strike Update - Day One

Union And Airline Give Opposing Views

BA says they have been able to operate all of their planned flights from Heathrow and Gatwick and reinstated some of longhaul services because more crew than expected have reported for work.  On March 12, Unite, the union that represents BA cabin crew, announced strike dates of 20,21, 22 and 27,28,29 and 30 March 2010.

The first strike period began Saturday with BA planning to operate 60 per cent of their normal flights.  Unite is reporting a cripling of the airline during the first strike in 13 years, while BA says things are going better than expected.

"We've had a great turnout in Gatwick--incredible! Every single cabin crew rostered to fly today has come to work," said Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways in a video posted to the BA website.  He reports around 50 per cent of cabin crew have reported as normal at Heathrow.  "They're voting with their feet," says Walsh.

BA says it plans to reinstate eight longhaul return flights, six of which will also operate Sunday and Monday and a further 18 shorthaul flights for Sunday across Heathrow and Gatwick.  BA is now working to sell seats on these flights as quickly as possible.

Unite is calling BA's Terminal 5 at Heathrow a "ghost town" and included the following statements on their website:

  • 85 BA planes were parked at Heathrow By lunchtime Saturday, consuming the maximum parking space allowed for BA aircraft
  • 20 more planes had been moved to Cardiff to be parked, and a further 20 flown to Shannon, in western Ireland, to sit out the strike
  • On average only 14 passengers are travelling on those flights which are taking off, far short of capacity
  • 2 strike-breaking chartered flights did not depart because of technical problems
  • 113 BA passengers had complained about the poor quality of food on-board the flights by mid-morning around
FMI: www.britishairways.comwww.unitetheunion.com

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