Passenger chaos

Flights disrupted as BA pilots begin two-day strike over pay

British Airways pic

Passengers told to stay away from airports

Tens of thousands of passengers face travel disruption over the next two days as British Airways pilots strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Passengers have been told not to go to airports as hundreds of flights are cancelled today and tomorrow.

Both BA and the pilots’ union Balpa say they are willing to start new talks, though more strikes are threatened for later this month and at Christmas.

About 4,000 pilots are involved and almost all of the 1,600 flights that were due to fly will be grounded, costing BA up to £40m a day. Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected.

There will be further disruption on Wednesday as planes will be in the wrong locations.

Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute. It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.”

BA said it remains “ready and willing” to return to talks with Balpa. “We proposed an offer of 11.5% t over three years to BALPA, a deal already accepted by members of the Unite and GMB unions, which represent 90% of British Airways’ staff, a deal which we believe is fair.”

Another day of industrial action is scheduled for 27 September.

On its website, BA said it is offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the airline after it enraged some travellers by wrongly telling them their flights had been canceled.

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