LONDON – British Airways said on Monday had been forced to cancel nearly 100 percent of its scheduled flights as pilots hold a two-day strike over pay.
The UK’s flagship airline operates roughly 850 flights daily and the industrial action could affect around 145,000 passengers each day.
“We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this,” BA said on its website.
“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 our flights.”
The British Airline Pilots’ Association, Balpa, organized a two-day strike over a pay dispute with the airline and has planned a second day of industrial action on 27 September if the issue goes unresolved.
“We put forward a proposal to BA management last Wednesday that would have enabled us to call off the strikes for Monday and Tuesday. BA didn’t reply,” it said on Twitter Sunday.
“One day of strike action will cost BA, on their own figures, 40m pounds ($49). The difference between us now is 5m pounds. Why won’t they work with us to end this dispute?”
Both parties have said they are willing to negotiate. BA pilots rejected an offer of an 11.5 percent pay increase over three years.
BA said it would reimburse those passengers affected by the strike action, or arrange alternative transport with other airlines.
The airline said that flights operated by its subsidiary BA CityFlyer and its franchises SUN-Air, in Scandanavia, and Comair, in South Africa, were not affected by the strike action.