With less than 24 hours before a strike by British Airways pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) is due to start, here is a quick summary of the status of the dispute between the airline and its pilots.
Strike – Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 September 2019
The planned strike by BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September 2019 is due to go ahead.
Very often planned strikes in a pay dispute can be called off at the last minute as talks go right up to the wire. However, no discussions appear to be currently underway between BA and BALPA. A revised pay proposal was presented by BALPA to BA this week, but this was rejected out of hand by BA due to its cost. The airline maintains it is available for talks, provided there are no pre-conditions.
Disruption to flights will begin, today Sunday 8 September 2019, as a number of inbound long-haul flights, particularly transatlantic flights from North America, are cancelled. Theoretically, these flights can operate as pilots can only strike when in the UK but there is the issue of where to park all the aircraft when they land at Heathrow.
BA has always adopted a conservative approach to strike schedule planing and virtually no BA flights are expected to operate from Gatwick and Heathrow on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September. From a cursory scan of scheduled flights from Heathrow on Monday 9 September, no BA flights are scheduled to operate.
Short-haul flights operated by BA CityFlyer Ltd at London City and franchise partners SUN-AIR A/S of Scandinavia and Comair are not affected. Nor are flights operated by codeshare partners under BA flight numbers.
Flights will resume on Tuesday evening as a number of inbound long-haul flights are expected to operate.
There will be some residual disruption beyond Tuesday, particularly on Sydney-Singapore-London, due to the length of time it takes pilots to complete a return trip on this route.
Strike – Friday 27 September 2019
BA has not yet announced cancellations for the second strike on Friday 27 September 2019.
The airline is expected to do so at least 14 days before the strike is due to start. If you are due to fly on BA between Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 September 2019, you can rebook on to an alternative date free of charge.
Additional strike dates & prospects of a settlement
BALPA is required to give 14 days’ notice of any additional strike action.
BALPA has intimated that it intends to announce further strike dates if no agreement is reached. Though, inevitably there is a degree of sabre-rattling during an industrial dispute.
Ultimately both sides need to reach a deal. BA needs to do so to stop any further strikes. BALPA needs to do so to secure a pay rise for its members. Whilst the cost of industrial action far exceeds the cost of settling the dispute, BA and its parent company IAG are clearly conscious of the precedent it will set for other groups of employees within BA and other airlines in IAG.