BA Continues Cancelling Flights


BRITISH Airways’ deepening crisis showed yesterday as it still cancelled flights in the aftermath of a three-day strike by cabin crew.

The airline’s website shows it has cancelled nearly 200, or more than 19%, of flights that had been scheduled up to midnight on Tuesday.

BA is now reviewing its schedule for a further strike between 27 and 30 March.

The airline is continuing to refuse to talk to the Unite trade union and stated yesterday that no further talks are planned ahead of the next walkout.

Unite continued to challenge BA to return to the talks.

Yesterday at London Heathrow, its biggest UK hub, it had cancelled 14% of outgoing flights and more than a third (34.2%) of arrivals.

At Manchester, more than a fifth of all services have been cancelled.

At Newcastle, the figure was 58.3%.

Aberdeen, with more than 28% of BA flights cancelled, and Glasgow, at 18.2%, were also hit hard.

‘We are sorry for any cancellations, as we get our aircraft, pilots and cabin crew back into the correct positions around the world,’ the airline said in a statement.

‘We are contacting customers and offering them a full refund, a rebook or a re-route so that they can get to their destinations.’

Tony Woodley, the joint leader of Unite, on Monday questioned why BA was funding what he called ‘a floundering strike-breaking operation’.

He told pickets: ‘Willie Walsh’s silence is deafening. Where’s Willie? He has not been seen or heard from today while his business grinds to a halt.

‘BA needs to wake up and understand that a dispute like this can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement.

‘Cabin crew have sent the company the most powerful message over the last three days that they will not be cowed or bullied into accepting industrial dictat. I am proud of their solidarity and resilience, and the support they have given to this dispute, which none of them wanted.

‘I would like to hear BA’s board justify spending millions on a floundering strike-breaking operation when they turned down an offer of more than £55 million in cost savings from their own cabin crew.

‘We estimate that BA may have spent as much as £18 million on leasing airplanes over the last three days. And it is beyond dispute that most of its long-haul flights have been cancelled, and most of those which have taken off are half-empty or completely passenger-free.

‘This is the economics of the madhouse, which can only lead to suspicions that there is another, union-busting, agenda at work here. Trying to break Unite will break BA’s bank account. That is why it is time to talk. Pick up the phone, Willie.’