INDUSTRIAL action by British Airways pilots overnight saw “almost 100%” of the carrier’s flights grounded, with London Heathrow Terminal 5 described by travellers as a “ghost town”.
The strike, which was flagged last month (TD 26 Aug) follows rejection by BALPA, the pilots’ union, of an 11.5% pay rise.
“Unfortunately with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work on which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100% of our flights,” the carrier told passengers.
Travellers on 09 and 10 Sep have been told not to go to the airport if their flight is cancelled, while those with flights booked on or around a second wave of action, planned for 27 Sep, will be advised in the next few weeks if their travel is impacted.
The union is estimating the strikes are costing BA 40 million per day, while Qantas has issued a waiver for fee-free rebookings to alternate airlines (TD 02 Sep).