British Airways staff at London Heathrow represented by the GMB & Unite unions have voted in favour of strike action.
Around 700 GMB staff were balloted. They voted 95% in favour of strike action. The turnout was 81%.
A similar ballot of around 500 BA staff at Heathrow represented by the Unite union voted 94.7% in favour of strike action.
The dispute with BA is over pay. The unions claim that a 10% pay cut imposed on ground staff by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been reinstated. Check-in staff also not received a 10% bonus given to other BA staff.
British Airways’ franchise partner in South Africa, Comair, has suspended all flights and ticket sales with immediate effect.
This will continue until the airline secures new funding.
Comair suspended all flights and entered into a Business Rescue Process in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had secured new investment and restarted flights with a smaller fleet of aircraft.
A number of factors have affected its planned recovery. This includes rising oil prices and countries including the UK putting South Africa on the “red list” in December 2021 due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant. This alone was said to have resulted in a working capital shortfall of ZAR 100 million / £5 million.
Members of the BA Executive Club can now use Gold Upgrade vouchers on American Airlines operated flights.
A Gold Upgrade For Two voucher is issued to Gold members of the Executive Club when they earn 2,500 tier points.
Two Gold Upgrade For One vouchers are issued when a member earns 3,500 tier points.
These can be used to upgrade a complete itinerary to the next cabin, subject to availability.
It was only possible to do this on flights operated by BA and its franchise partners. Any flights in the booking operated by other airlines would not be upgraded.
This is now extended to transatlantic and US domestic flights operated by American Airlines, including regional flights operated by American Eagle. This is regardless of whether the flight is sold by AA, or sold by BA as a codeshare.
At the start of the year, BA CEO Sean Doyle announced a series of senior management changes to spearhead the airline’s recovery from COVID-19.
As has been well publicised the start of BA’s busiest travel season since the pandemic has been difficult. The airline has been beset by staff shortages, congestion at Heathrow Terminal 5 and sporadic IT issues.
BA’s parent company International Airlines Group released its financial results for the first quarter of the year today, Friday 6 May 2022.
The numbers contain few surprises. IAG reported a loss of €754 million and expects to return to profitability from this quarter.
At the start of the year, IAG and BA had been selling a positive vision of the future to both investors and the wider press.
As has been well publicised, this has not turned out to be the case. Congestion and staff shortages at Heathrow have resulted short notice cancellations and disruption to baggage handling. This cost BA €50 million in lost revenues and additional costs in the first quarter.
IAG and BA management set out some of the steps taken to address these issues: