British Airways has launched its offensive against the second planned strike by the Unite union, stating it has expanded planned flight schedules as crew return to work.
According to the British flag-carrier, more than 3,000 cabin crew who were rostered to work during the first Unite strike day reported for work as normal.
This is the equivalent of 97 per cent of Gatwick rostered crew or 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 short-haul flights and 70 per cent of long-haul flights.
The second strike at British Airways is due to begin this weekend, with cabin crew represented by the Unite union expected to walk out for four days from March 27th.
The airline will continue to supplement its short-haul schedule during the strike by leasing up to 11 aircraft - with pilots and crews - from six different airlines based in the UK and Europe.
British Airways’ chief executive, Willie Walsh, 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.”
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 confirmed.
The latest information on British Airway’s schedule can be found here.
United we Stand
Unite earlier urged British Airways to return to the negotiating table.
“BA needs to wake up and understand that a dispute like this can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement,” said Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley.
“Cabin crew have sent the company the most powerful message over the last three days that they will not be cowed or bullied into accepting industrial dictat.”
The union – which notionally represents as many as 12,000 members of cabin crew at British Airways – also accused the airline of “intimidating” in dealings with the media while reporting the number of staff who had reported for work.