Departures at British Airways are returning to normal this morning, following three days of industrial action by cabin crew.
The Unite union called workers out on strike on March 20th, with a further four day strike expected to begin on Saturday 27th March.
No further talks are scheduled between the two sides, with little optimism of an end to the dispute before the second strike begins. However, Unite has challenged British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh to return to the negotiating table.
Visiting picket lines at London’s Heathrow Airport, Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley, said: “BA needs to wake up and understand that a dispute like this can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement.
“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.”
Unite also points out the union offered their own £55 million cost cutting package, which was rejected by the airline.
British Airways has been robustly defending its position over the weekend, arguing it operated more flights and carried more passengers than initially planned.
Over the first two days of the strike, the airline operated 273 (or 78 per cent) of its long-haul flights and 442 (50 per cent) of its short-haul flights.
In addition, BA operated 70 positioning flights, which in most cases carried cargo, to return passengers home with minimum disruption.
“We are sorry for any cancellations, as we get our aircraft, pilots and cabin crew back into the correct positions around the world,” the airline said in a statement.
“We are contacting customers and offering them a full refund, a rebook or a re-route so that they can get to their destinations.”
As of this morning, all flights from London City Airport and Gatwick Airport were operating normally. Heathrow, however, was still experiencing disruption, particularly on short-haul departures.
The latest information from British Airways can be found here.
“This strong operational performance made possible by dedicated BA staff has significantly reduced the financial impact of the disruption,” explained the airline in a statement to markets.
The British flag-carrier stated the industrial action would cost £7 million a day; with full year earnings expectations consequently “broadly unchanged”.