British Airways grounds nearly all flights after pilots strike work
10 September 2019
British Airways cancelled nearly all its flights on Monday after its pilots began a 48-hour strike, the first ever industrial action by its pilots demanding an increase in pay - that the airline share more of its profit with its pilots.
The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) struck work after the airline rejected a proposed 11.5 per cent pay rise demanded by the pilots union.
The grounding of the flights inconvenienced thousands of travellers and authorities are reported to have stopped angry flyers from entering the airport to avert any untoward incident.
Flights to New York, Delhi, Hong Kong and Johannesburg have all been affected, with the airline telling passengers: 'If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport'.
Travellers have been offered options of full refunds, flights on different carriers, or flight on a different date, but should not turn up at the airport without a confirmed flight.
The strike, which will continue today and on 27 September, is expected to affect some 2,80,000 people and cost BA 80 million pounds ($98 million) in lost revenue.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) last month warned the airline of three days of industrial action in September, after the airline failed to consider their demand.
"We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA's strike action has caused our customers. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this," BA said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent of our flights.
“We've been trying very hard to do so for the best part of nine months now but here we are now sadly having to take industrial action," BBC radio quoted BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton as saying. He said they were willing to compromise but BA were not prepared to "budge".
BALPA had said it would have called off the strikes this week if BA had engaged with the offer.
The airline dismissed a new offer by BALPA last week as an "eleventh hour inflated proposal" that was not made in good faith to another date of travel or alternative airline."