British Airways was forced to cancel virtually all flights for Monday and Tuesday after its pilots went on strike for the first time in the airline’s history.
The strike was called by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) over a dispute regarding pay.
Pilots are unhappy with BA’s offer of an 11.5% salary increase over three years. They want a greater share of the airline’s profit says CNN.
According to a BA spokesperson, the average salary for a BA Captain is USD 206,000 plus flying allowances. The offer of 11.5% would increase the average salary to about USD 250,000. A first officer earns about USD 111,000 on average, the spokesperson said.
What does this strike mean for passengers?
Passengers due to fly on September 9 and 10 are highly unlikely to be able to travel as planned. BA advised them not to go to the airport if their flight is cancelled.
BA said it would offer “as many customers as possible” — including those connecting from flights with other airlines — the option to rebook on other airlines, or have their flights refunded.
Does this affect St. Lucia bookings?
The St. Lucia section of BA’s website says:
“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.
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.”
Another strike is planned for September 27. The airline said it would contact passengers traveling on that date if their flight is likely to be impacted.
Passengers can keep checking the BA website (St. Lucia section) for updates.
How does this strike affect BA?
The cost of the strike is around £40 million ($49 million) per day, according to BALPA. The three strike days already scheduled would cost in the region of £120 million ($148 million).
Members of the pilots union voted 93% in favor of a strike in July said CNN. BALPA also said last week that it would be willing to call the strike off if BA returned to the negotiating table.