2-Jun-2010 10:30 AM

British Airways expands schedule for next strike action

British Airways announced (01-Jun-2010) plans to again increase its flying schedule during Unite’s five-day strike (05-Jun-2010 to 09-Jun-2010) due to the growing number of cabin crew who want to work. [more]

  • Schedule: The airline will increase its London Heathrow Airport long-haul schedule to more than 80% of flights (up from more than 70% this week and 60% in the first strike period). It will be increasing its Heathrow short-haul schedule to 60% (up from more than 55% this week and more than 50% in the first strike period). The airline will continue to lease up to eight aircraft from UK or European airlines to supplement its short-haul schedule at Heathrow. British Airways flights at London Gatwick and London City airports will remain unaffected by industrial action. The airline will also fly its full schedule to South Africa for the World Cup. The airline will also continue to fly its entire London Heathrow-New York JFK schedule and serve in excess of 85% of its long-haul destinations and 100% of its short-haul network. Flights operated by subsidiary OpenSkies between Paris and New York and Paris and Washington will operate as normal. Flights operated by BA franchise partners (Comair and Sun Air) will operate as normal. Flights operated by other carriers (including oneworld partners) that have a BA codeshare flight number will operate as normal. All dedicated cargo freighter services continue to operate as normal;
  • Passenger numbers: During this strike, BA expects to fly more than 75% of passengers. This equates to more than 65,000 customers flying each day. Many thousands more will be able to use seats, which have been secured on more than 50 other airlines to reach their destination. Customers can also be rebooked on an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days. Refunds are also available for customers whose flights have been cancelled;
  • Strike cost: Unite announced (01-Jun-2010) on day 15 of the strike action, the strike has now cost BA GBP105 million and the carrier continues to operate a significantly reduced schedule. [more]
  • Negotiations: BA and Unite resumed negotiations on 01-Jun-2010 under the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) but adjourned without reaching an agreement (Reuters, 01-Jun-2010). Unite stated they intend to resume talks again later in the week but are yet to set a date. Trades Union Congress (TUC) stated talks between the two have dragged on longer than expected and has led to “so many false dawns” that it will no longer speculate on the outcome (Bloomberg, 02-Jun-2010). TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, remains “involved” in the talks. Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley, stated the union may now hold a ballot on further strike action as soon as next week (Bloomberg, 01-Jun-2010;
  • Other airline reactions: Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, stated BA CEO, Willie Walsh, should “keep going” as Unite has already lost and there is “no way back” (Travel Weekly, 01-Jun-2010/Bloomberg, 02-Jun-2010). The CEO stated there has been little affect on Ryanair’s bookings from the strike. Mr O’Leary also commented that the BA model is “broken”, stating that while its long-haul operation is “brilliant”, its short-haul services are just a “bus with wings”. He predicted business class will be “gone” in three years and the majority of passengers will be flying with Ryanair or easyJet.

Trades Union Congress: “Talks have been going on longer than anyone would have envisaged at the start. We just don’t know where the two sides are with this … Where this is going to end is very hard to predict. At least they are still talking. That’s a good sign,” Rob Holdsworth, Spokesperson. Source: Bloomberg, 02-Jun-2010.

Ryanair: “This union has to be faced down. It’s frankly absurd what they are looking for,” Michael O’Leary, CEO. Source: Bloomberg, 02-Jun-2010.

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