British Airways has expanded its flight schedules for Unite’s strike period of March 27, 28, 29, 30 because of the increased numbers of cabin crew wishing to work as normal.
More than 3,000 cabin crew who were rostered to work last weekend and yesterday reported for work as normal. This is the equivalent of 97 per cent of Gatwick rostered crew and 53 per cent of Heathrow rostered crew. The total number of cabin crew reporting for work increased from 57 per cent to 62 per cent between Saturday and Monday.
As a result of this support from cabin crew, the airline will run a full operation using its own aircraft at London Gatwick for the second strike period and all flights to and from London City will remain unaffected.
At Heathrow the airline will extend its schedule to include up to 55 per cent of shorthaul flights and 70 per cent of longhaul flights.
The airline will continue to supplement its shorthaul schedule by leasing up to 11 aircraft with pilots and crews each day from six different airlines based in the UK and Europe.
Customers who are booked on flights that have now been cancelled will be offered seats on alternative British Airways flights or on services operated by other airlines or offered a full refund.
The airline is available to hold further talks with Unite, but wants customers to have advance notice of its flying schedule to remove uncertainty and allow sufficient time for alternative travel arrangements to be made.
British Airways has again made arrangements with more than 60 other carriers, so that customers can be rebooked free of charge on to their flights if they had been due to travel on a BA flight that has been cancelled.
Customers should check their bookings on www.ba.com to see if their flight is still operating.
Willie Walsh, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “The biggest contingency plan in our history went extremely well last weekend with large numbers of cabin crew reporting for work as normal.
“ As a result of the numbers of crew wanting to work, we are increasing significantly our flying schedule and will be operating a full schedule at Gatwick and London City airports.
“I would like to thank all our customers for their patience and support. I apologise to those whose flights will regrettably have to be cancelled at Heathrow because of Unite’s continuing action. This second strike is the work of a trade union that – despite its promises - seems determined to try to ruin the Easter holiday plans of thousands of families.
“Once again the union has misjudged the public mood. Our flag will continue to fly.
“We will do all we can to rebook affected customers onto other British Airways’ flights, offer seats on alternative airlines or give a full refund.
“I stress again that our door remains open to Unite, day or night, if it wants to find a sensible settlement. It is not too late for Unite to call off this second set of strikes - and then we would do all we could to reinstate some of the cancelled flights.”
Customers in the UK wishing to rebook their flights can contact the airline on 0800 727 800 which is a free telephone line. British Airways has opened up an extra call centre manned by staff volunteers to help customers with rebooking and refunding queries
British Airways’ flight programme is complex, involving 230 aircraft operating around up to 650 services every day to or from 140 cities in more than 70 countries.
Customers are advised to check ba.com on a regular basis to see if their flight is still operating before departing for the airport. If their flight has been cancelled they should not come to the airport but contact British Airways or their travel agent.
Key points of British Airways’ schedule for customers:
The airline will operate a full, normal schedule at Gatwick.
Flights operated to and from London City will operate as normal, including services to and from New York.
More than 70 per cent of longhaul services into and out of London Heathrow will operate as planned between March 27 and March 30. The airline may be able to add to this schedule in the days ahead.
The airline will be able to operate up to 55 per cent of shorthaul flights into and out of Heathrow. It will supplement its own schedule by hiring in up to 11 aircraft each day with their own pilots and cabin crew. The airline may be able to add to this schedule in the days ahead.
Flights operated by subsidiary OpenSkies between Paris and New York will operate as normal. Flights operated by British Airways franchise partners (Comair in South Africa and Sun Air in Scandinavia) will operate as normal. Flights operated by other carriers (including oneworld Alliance partners) which have a BA codeshare flight number will operate as normal.
All dedicated cargo freighter services continue to operate as normal.