Disruption to British Airways flights due to additional checks required to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet is to now continue well into 2020.
This means the airline will have been grappling with two years of disruption. BA has addressed this issue through wet leases of aircraft and tactical cancellations. These will now continue into the first quarter of 2020.
The latest update from Rolls-Royce in late September 2019 was that the number of “Aircraft On Ground” across all affected airlines should reach single digits by the second quarter of 2020.
BA has wet leased aircraft from airlines to cover certain routes.
Air Belgium is currently operating London Heathrow – Cairo for BA (BA155 / BA154) with an Airbus A340 aircraft. This will continue until Wednesday 6 November 2019.
Titan Airways will then operate London Heathrow – Cairo from Thursday 7 November 2019 to Wednesday 12 January 2020 with a two class Airbus A321 aircraft. There is no equivalent cabin to Club World on this aircraft and Club World passengers will be downgraded to premium economy, with an appropriate refund of their fare. Club World passengers are also entitled to a full refund.
Envelop Airlines is currently operating London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) until Sunday 12 January 2020. This is a two class Airbus A330 aircraft, with no premium economy cabin. All passengers have the option of rebooking on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and New York JFK. Also note, that American Airlines does not have regulatory approval to codeshare on BA routes operated by other airline on behalf of BA. Passengers who have booked on this route through American Airlines will need to rebook on to alternative services operated by either American or BA.
BA has also tactically cancelled some flights and routes. These are not flights necessarily operated with the 787 but have been cancelled to release aircraft for deployment elsewhere:
London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) is cancelled from Tuesday 14 January 2020 to Monday 10 February 2020.
BA has also tactically cancelled selected return flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi, Boston, Hong Kong, Muscat, New York JFK, Toronto Pearson and Washington Dulles.
As at Thursday 31 October 2019 around 16 return flights have been cancelled between mid January 2020 and mid March 2020. Ordinarily, we would publish a full list but the list produced for the travel trade doesn’t quite tally up to what timetables are showing on ba.com
If you are due to travel on an affected route, the best advice is to check the status of your booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund or reaccomodation on alternative flights to, or near to, your intended destination.
British Airways is currently wet leasing an Airbus A340 aircraft from Air Belgium to cover the London Heathrow – Cairo route.
This was due to end on Thursday 31 October 2019 for the outbound flight from London Heathrow (flight BA155) and Friday 1 November 2019 for the inbound flight to London Heathrow (flight BA154).
The Air Belgium wet lease has now been extended to Wednesday 6 November 2019 and Thursday 7 November 2019 respectively.
Due to ongoing maintenance requirements to the Rolls-Royce engines of BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, BA will then wet lease an Airbus A321-200 aircraft from Titan Airways to cover this route.
Titan Airways will operate flight BA155 from Thursday 7 November 2019 to Wednesday 12 January 2020 and BA154 from Friday 8 November 2019 to Thursday 13 January 2020.
Given it has, much to the frustration of BA, taken longer than expected to address the issues with the Boeing 787 fleet, there is every possibility that the wet lease may be extended.
Club World Passengers
The Titan Airways Airbus A321-200 aircraft has two cabins which, for BA, will operate as economy and premium economy.
There is no equivalent cabin to Club World on this aircraft and Club World passengers will be downgraded to premium economy, with an appropriate refund of their fare.
Club World passengers will retain their original baggage allowance, lounge access privileges and Avios/tier points earning entitlements. Club World passengers are also entitled to cancel their flights with a full refund.
Titan Airways has recently refurbished its fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft and you can see pictures of the interiors from Titan Airways. From the pictures available, there appears to be no seat-back in-flight entertainment system on this aircraft.
Following the decision by BALPA to cancel planned industrial action on Friday 27 October 2019, BA has now updated its policy on accommodatingpassengers who have been affected by the planned strike.
BA had cancelled the vast majority of its flights at Gatwick and Heathrow on the day of strike action. BA has advised that it is reinstating much of its schedule. However, at the time of publication, BA does not appear to have reinstated any flights but this may change imminently. Edit: A large number of flights have been reinstated on Friday.
If were due to fly BA between Thursday 26 September and Saturday 28 September, and you wish to revert back to your original travel plans, you can now do so. This can be done by calling BA on 0800 727 800 from within the UK or +44 (0)203 250 0145 from outside the UK, or by contacting your travel agent.
However, if your flight was cancelled and you have requested a refund, you will need to buy a new ticket.
If you were due to fly between Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 September 2019 and have already changed your plans you do not need to change them again if you do not wish to do so.
The latest strike guidance is available on ba.com Please note this is subject to constant review and may be amended at any time.
In terms of where this latest move by BALPA leaves the prospect of a settlement, currently there are no talks underway between BALPA and BA. BALPA is required by law to give 14 days’ notice of any further industrial action.
British Airways has now updated its schedules in advance of a planned second phase of industrial action by British Airways pilots on Friday 27 September 2019.
Once again, there are very extensive cancellations to BA’s schedules at Gatwick and Heathrow. There is also residual disruption before and after the strike.
Flights operated by BA CityFlyer Ltd at London City are not affected. BA has advised that extra capacity has been added from London City to Amsterdam, Berlin Tegel and Munich on the day of the strike.
Flights operated by franchise partners SUN-AIR A/S of Scandinavia and Comair are not affected. Nor are flights operated by codeshare partners under BA flight numbers.
If your flight is cancelled you should have now received an e-mail from BA. The best way to monitor the status of your booking is to use the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. BA is offering rebooking on what is now a wide range of Oneworld alliance and non-alliance partner airlines.
BA Executive Club Avios and Tier Points
BA has today, Friday 13 September 2019, updated its guidance on ba.com to clarify its position on the awarding of Avios and tier points to members of the BA Executive Club whose flights have been cancelled.
BA now advises that if you are rebooked on a BA or Oneworld partner airline flight you will be awarded Avios and tier points automatically after you have taken the flight. (In actuality, it can take time for these to credit, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on your account).
If you are rebooked on a non-Oneworld alliance partner airline, you will need to submit a claim directly to BA in order to earn Avios and tier points. These will be awarded on the basis of your original booking with BA.
If you believe you have missed out on retaining your existing Executive Club tier or reaching the next tier as a consequence of industrial action, you should contact BA and they will look at your account on a case-by-case basis.
This is the guidance, as published this evening on ba.com, which may be amended at any time:
If your flight was cancelled as a result of the industrial action, and you were rebooked onto an alternative service operated by British Airways or a oneworld partner airline, you will automatically be credited with the applicable Avios and Tier Points once you have flown the rebooked flight.
If your flight was cancelled as a result of the industrial action, and you were rebooked by British Airways onto an alternative service operated by a non-partner airline, we will award you the Avios and Tier Points for your original cancelled British Airways flight. Please raise a claim online by logging into your Executive Club account and click the option “claim missing Avios on BA” and submit your original British Airways flight details.
In all other cases where you believe you would have upgraded or retained your Tier status had your flight not been affected by the industrial action, please contact your local Executive Club Service Centre who will review cases on an individual basis.
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.
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.
British Airways pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Union (BALPA) at London Gatwick and Heathrow are have called for strike action in a pay dispute with the airline.
Update 22:00 BST Friday 20 September 2019
BALPA has unilaterally chosen to call off the planned 24 hour strike on Friday 27 September 2019.
BA has now reinstated many flights that were previously cancelled.
If you were due to fly between Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 September 2019 and have rebooked on to alternative flights, you should be able to revert back to your original plans, subject to availability. However, if your flights were cancelled and you have requested a refund you will need to buy a new ticket.
As the strike has been called off and BA has reinstated much of its schedule, BA is no longer offering rebooking options on airlines.
BALPA issued the following statement on Wednesday 18 September:
The British Airline Pilots Association has today called off the next strike scheduled for 27th September in the dispute between British Airways and its pilots.
BALPA said the strikes on 9th and 10th September had demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots. It was now time for a period of reflection before the dispute escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand.
BALPA hopes BA will now change its approach and negotiate seriously with a view to ending this dispute.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA the pilots have decided to take the responsible course. In a genuine attempt at establishing a time out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on the 27th September.
“BA passengers rightly expect BA and its pilots to resolve their issues without disruption and now is the time for cool heads and pragmatism to be brought to bear. I hope BA and its owner IAG show as much responsibility as the pilots.”
Should BA refuse meaningful new negotiations, BALPA retains the right to announce further strike dates.
The latest strike news and guidance from BA is on ba.com Please note this is subject to constant review and may be amended and supplemented at any time.
BALPA is required to give 14 days’ notice of any additional strike action.
The strike follows a vote for industrial action announced on Monday 22 July 2019, where 90% of BA pilots represented by BALPA voted 93% in favour of industrial action.
BA did attempt to seek an injunction to stop the strike at the High Court and Court of Appeal but this was unsuccessful. Talks have been taking place at the conciliation service ACAS but these have broken down without agreement.
BALPA released the following statement on Friday 23 August 2019:
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has today given notice to British Airways that it will call on its members to strike on 9th, 10th and 27th September 2019.
Over several days of ACAS talks BALPA put forward a number of packages that we believe would have resolved this dispute without a strike, and which we could have recommended to our members for acceptance prior to strike action. BA did not accept any of these packages, and it is clear following discussions with members over the last few days that BA’s most recent offer will not gain the support of anywhere near a majority of its pilots.
In these circumstances, with a 93% vote in favour of taking industrial action, and with no prospect of any further meaningful talks, we have no choice but to call this action.
A day of strike action will cost BA around £40m. Three days will cost in the region of £120m. The gap between BA’s position and BALPA’s position is about £5m. Our proposal remains on the table should BA wish to reach agreement prior to strike action.
British Airways is an extremely profitable and successful company, and pilots have been proud to play their part in that. In 2018 the company announced profits of £2bn. Over recent years BA pilots have made sacrifice after sacrifice to assist the company such as taking a pay cut, productivity increases, closing the final salary pension scheme, giving up annual leave days, a new rostering system, and reducing flying pay.
In what is British Airways’ centenary year, this will be the very first time its pilots will go on strike. They do so as a last resort and with enormous frustration at the way the business is now being run.
Our ballot is valid until January, and more dates may be announced until such time as this matter is resolved.
In response British Airways released the following statement on Friday 23 August 2019:
It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.
BALPA has given us notice that they will strike on September 9th, 10th and 27th.
We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action.
We are now making changes to our schedule. We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible.
However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.
Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
We are exploring options to supplement our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing)
We are working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers
Our proposed deal of 11.5 per cent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to BALPA, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff.
In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.
We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action and protect our customers’ travel plans
BALPA represent the vast majority of BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow. If the strike goes ahead it would result in very significant disruption. There would also be residual disruption beyond the strike, particularly to inbound flights, due to aircraft and crews being out of position.
Flights operated by BA CityFlyer from London City and London Stansted will not be affected by industrial action.
Codeshare flights operated by partner airlines and flights operated by franchise partners SUN-AIR of Scandinavia A/S and Comair in southern Africa will also not be affected.
British Airways Contingency & Rebooking Plans
BA is providing passenger guidance on a dedicated page of its website.
BA has little option but to announce significant cancellations.
BA has introduced a flexible rebooking policy allowing passengers to change their flights to dates outside of the strike and periods at risk of residual disruption.
If you are due to fly to / from Gatwick or Heathrow on BA between Sunday 8 September and Friday 13 September 2019 or Thursday 26 September and Saturday 28 September 2019, you can rebook on to an alternative BA service up to 355 days’ ahead.
BA should also rebook passengers whose flights have been cancelled onto partner & rival airlines. However, it may take time to put these arrangements in place.
There is of course every possibility that the strike could be called off which can happen at any time between now and immediately before the strike is due to start. Based on previous incidences of strike action, BA will reinstate any cancelled flights if the strike is called off.
In the interim, the best advice for passengers is to check that you have up to date e-mail and telephone contact details for each booking you hold in the Manage By Booking tool and have the BA app installed on your smartphone.
A brief Friday evening update on the situation between BA and the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) following a ballot for industrial action by BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow.
Discussions have been underway between BA and BALPA at the conciliation service ACAS.
BALPA issued a short statement on Friday evening to advise that talks will continue on Monday 5 August 2019.
In the interim, BALPA has not announced any dates for industrial action. As BALPA is required by law to give 14 days’ notice of any industrial action, the earliest any possible strike could take place is now the week beginning Monday 19 August 2019.
British Airways has failed for a second time to challenge the validity of the ballot for industrial action by pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association, BALPA.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the High Court that the manner in which the ballot was conducted meant that the strike ballot was lawful.
However, BALPA has not announced any strike dates pending further talks between BA and BALPA at the conciliation service ACAS this week.
If talks break down this week then it is highly likely that BALPA will call industrial action.
BALPA is required by law to give 14 days’ notice to BA of any strike action.
This will cause very significant disruption at London Gatwick and Heathrow.
Flights operated by BA CityFlyer at London City and Stansted will not be affected. Nor will flights operated by BA franchisees SUN-AIR of Scandinavia A/S nor Comair in South Africa.
BALPA has issued the following statement:
The Court of Appeal has rejected British Airways’ attempt to injunct BALPA’s proposed industrial action on a technicality. The legality of BALPA’s ballot has been affirmed.
BA’s case was already dismissed once at the High Court last week, but they insisted on wasting more time in pressing it to an appeal.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“The Court of Appeal has today rightly dismissed BA’s attempt to injunct this industrial action on a technicality.
“BA’s attempt to defeat the democratic view of their pilots in court, rather than deal with us across the negotiating table, has sadly wasted huge amounts of time and money that could have been put into finding a peaceful resolution. Now the window for negotiation and compromise is closing fast.”
“BA need to wake up to reality. Our ballot returned 93% in favour of strike action. There is a serious issue here and BA has so far refused to help us tackle it.
“On BA’s own figures submitted to the court, even a single day of strike action will cost far more than we believe it would take to settle this dispute.
“However, BALPA wants to resolve this matter through negotiation and so we are not announcing strike dates. Instead, we have called on BA to hold further talks at ACAS and they have agreed to meet at ACAS today and for the rest of this week for one last try to resolve this dispute by negotiation.
“We have spent four days in talks at ACAS already, and BA refused to move their position one iota. But we hope they now recognise the seriousness of the situation and will work positively with us to find a way forward.
“We are not announcing strike dates today. In any event we are required by law to provide BA with 14 days’ notice of any proposed strike action.”
BA has issued a short statement in response acknowledging today’s judgment. General information is available on a dedicated page on the BA website.
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Following the announcement yesterday, Monday 22 July 2019, that British Airways pilots have voted in favour of industrial action in a pay dispute with the airline, BA has failed to secure an injunction at the High Court to prevent BALPA from calling a strike.
The background to this is that ten years ago, BA successfully secured an injunction at the High Court to prevent its cabin crew union from striking after it was found that, inter alia, erroneous voting instructions were issued by a union officer to its members.
Since then, airlines have regularly used the courts to try and stop strikes from going ahead.
The courts have subsequently had little sympathy. Whilst unions have to follow set rules in strike ballots, they are not there to act as tripwire to prevent strikes from going ahead.
BA is seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In the interim, BALPA has not set any dates for strike action and remains open to talks at the conciliation service ACAS, as per this statement:
The British Airline Pilots Association has said it is pleased it has successfully defended an application for a High Court injunction brought against it by British Airways in relation to its strike ballot of members.
Today the judge presiding over the case determined that the pilots union had issued its ballot correctly and therefore the ballot result could stand.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“While we’re pleased with the judge’s decision, we’re frustrated that time has been wasted. BA could have spent this time coming back to the negotiating table instead of trying – and failing – to tie us up in legal knots.
“This delay will now continue with BA seeking to appeal against the Hight Court’s decision.
“As a result it’s now likely the talks scheduled with ACAS on Friday will have to be postponed.
“We ask that BA thinks hard about why 93% of our members feel so strongly about taking strike action.
“The company itself has admitted that even one day of strike action would cost most than what our pilots are asking for, so the ball really is in their court here, to look after their pilots and ensure the hardworking public get to continue their holidays as planned.
“Although legally clear to do so, we have still not set any strike dates to give BA one last chance to commit to negotiating on pilots pay and rewards with us at ACAS later this week.”
British Airways pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have voted to hold industrial action in a pay dispute with the airline.
The ballot closed today, Monday 22 July 2019. As is expected, there is a strong mandate for industrial action based on a high turnout. 93% of BA pilots have voted in favour of industrial action based on a turnout of 90%.
BALPA has not yet announced any dates for strike action.
In response to the ballot result, BALPA has issued the following statement:
BALPA’s industrial action ballot members in British Airways has now closed, with a 93% vote in favour of industrial action on a 90% turnout.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots, and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted. Sadly three days of ACAS talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.
“We do not wish to inconvenience our customers which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”
BALPA believes the cost to BA to settle dispute in full is significantly less than the cost would be of even a single day’s strike action.
BA’s attempt to injunct this industrial action in the High Court tomorrow [Tuesday 23rd July] means that any further negotiations are on hold while we prepare to defend our right to take this action
BA is making massive profits as a result of the hard work and dedication of staff, including because of sacrifices made during hard times.
Thankfully BA is no longer in a fight for survival so, like the airline’s senior managers and directors, pilots deserve a small fraction of that profit via, for instance, a profit share scheme.
We currently do not have dates for any potential strike action and will issue an update on this in due course.
We remain hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before strike action, but we remain committed to action if necessary.
Under UK employment law, BALPA is required to give two weeks’ notice of strike action, so the earliest a strike could take place is Tuesday 6 August 2019.
BA and BALPA did hold three days of talks at the conciliation service ACAS earlier this month, but these broke down without agreement.
On the basis that BALPA represent the vast majority of BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow, any strike would result in very significant disruption. There would also be residual disruption beyond the dates of any strike, particularly to inbound flights, due to aircraft and crews being out of position.
Codeshare flights operated by partner airlines and flights operated by franchise partners SUN-AIR of Scandinavia A/S and Comair in South Africa would not be affected.
At the time of publication (16:15 BST Monday 22 July 2019) there has been no response from BA. In terms of advice to passengers, if a strike is called, in the past BA has announced contingency plans around 7 days before any strike.
The uncertainty for passengers is of course not helpful but that is why a strike mandate is a powerful negotiating tool. Pay talks can go right up to the wire and a strike can be called off right up to the last minute.
In the interim, it’s a good idea to check that you have up to date e-mail and telephone contact details for each booking you hold in the Manage By Booking tool and have the BA app installed on your smartphone.
Update: 17:35 BST Monday 22 July
In response to today’s result BA has published the following statement on its website:
We’re very disappointed that the pilot union, BALPA, has chosen to disrupt our customers’ travel plans – including the summer holidays of thousands of families and friends – with potential strike action.
We have yet to receive strike dates from BALPA, so there are no changes to our schedule at this time.
We remain open to working with BALPA to reach agreement, as we have been since December.
Our proposed pay offer of 11.5 per cent over three years is fair, and the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of British Airways staff, have already recommended this offer to their members.
We’re pursuing every avenue to find a solution to protect your travel plans and we urge BALPA to return to talks as soon as possible.
We’re very sorry for the disruption this potential strike action will cause.
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