British Airways states they had to cancel nearly 100% of their flights on September 9, 2019, as British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has begun two day strike over pay.
On the first day of two-days long industrial action, the airline canceled “nearly” 100% of its flights, affecting “tens of thousands” of holidaymakers and business travellers. “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,” British Airways announcement reads. The cancellations would affect “tens of thousands” of passengers, according to a separate statement by BA.
British Airways has described the strike as “reckless course of action”; the union argues it is “a clear message to the company’s managers that they will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits”.
The airline has previously offered pilots a wage increase of 11.5% over a three years’ course, calling it “a very fair offer”. But BALPA demands an even higher pay raise by pointing to BA’s profits, that make up around £2 billion per year (according to the union’s estimations). The union is demanding “less than £5m more than British Airways previously offered”, adding that one day of strike action costs the airline approximately £40 million.
Following failed negotiations with BA, the airline’s pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor (93%) of an industrial action in a strike ballot on July 22, 2019. To halt potential walk-outs, BA had attempted to take legal action against the union, but the effort was defeated twice in court.
The strikes are to take place on September 9-10, 2019; additional strike date is also foreseen on September 27, 2019.