British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh, made an appeal to staff to volunteer to keep the carrier operating during the Unite strikes during May-2010 and Jun-2010 (The Independent, 12-May-2010). The carrier expects to operate the majority of its long-haul operations from London Heathrow during the strikes and does not expect operations at London Gatwick to be affected. British Airways has reportedly already trained more than 1,000 volunteer cabin crew. Mr Walsh stated he would resist attempts to undermine the carrier through strikes (AP, 12-Amy-2010). It is estimated that the 20-day strike could cost the carrier up to GBP150 million (Bloomberg, 12-May-2010).
British Airways appeals for staff to volunteer during strikes
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Airline strikes: 2016 a peak year for Europe's legacy airlines. Wakeup time, as LCCs pick them off
Pilot strikes at Lufthansa. Again. A strike ballot among British Airways cabin crew. A guilty verdict for Air France workers who assaulted an executive during a union protest. These were all headlines in late Nov-2016, following Air France pilot and cabin crew strikes in summer 2016. Labour relations at Europe's three biggest legacy airline groups are an ongoing challenge.
A CAPA report in Jun-2016 highlighted the growing number of articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. It raised the possibility that if the rate continued through the year, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis. With a little under a month still to go, this year has already comfortably passed this milestone.
To a large extent labour unrest grows as airline industry profits increase. However, rather than hoping for an industry downturn to reverse the rise in the cycle of strikes, airline CEOs are talking tough – a line long taken by IAG's Willie Walsh. Lufthansa's Carsten Spohr has said that taking on the pilots is "about the future of Lufthansa", noting that it has “no chance of survival" if it gives in to pay demands (Bloomberg, 24-Nov-2016).
London-Singapore becomes world's longest LCC route as Norwegian enters: Long haul low cost, Part 1
European LCC group Norwegian is to launch service from London Gatwick to Singapore on 28-Sep-2017. London-Singapore will become the longest route in Norwegian’s network – and the longest route by any LCC globally.
London-Singapore is a large market but is currently only served nonstop in both directions by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and British Airways. Norwegian should be able to stimulate new demand and attract passengers who are now flying on competitively priced one stop products.
There will also be opportunities to carry passengers beyond London and Singapore. However, Norwegian will need to rely mainly on end to end traffic.