3m BA pilots strike over pay

British Airways

British Airways

The airline said that flights operated by its subsidiary BA CityFlyer and its franchises SUN-Air, in Scandanavia, and Comair, in South Africa, were not affected by the strike action.

Regardless, British Airways says passengers scheduled to fly today and tomorrow should still check their flight status in the Manage My Booking section of their BA account.

For the next 48 hours, members of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) have said they will strike due to a dispute over pay.

On its website, British Airways says: "We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA's strike action has caused you".

The airline said it would be in touch with people scheduled to travel September 27, the expected date for the next strike, if their flight is affected by the strike. British Airlines Chief Executive Alex Cruz in a statement quoeted by Reuters had urged the union to come back to the negotiating table in order to resolve the pay dispute. The airline has accused Balpa of not acting in good faith by making "an eleventh hour inflated proposal" which BA said would cost an additional 50 million pounds.

Last night the Balpa pilots' union promised a "lengthy" campaign of industrial action until the row is resolved.

Britain's airports were eerily quiet this morning as the first day of a British Airways pilot strike began - the first for the company in its 100 years of operation.

BA said it would offer "as many customers as possible" - including those connecting from flights with other airlines - the option to rebook on other airlines, or have their flights refunded. British Airways' parent company, IAG, made a net profit of 2.9 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) previous year.

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British Airways has offered pilots an 11.5% wage increase within a three-year time-frame, well above inflation.

Pilots were also told that they will see one of the most popular travel perks that BA boasts of. On Monday, British Airways said it would contact passengers flying that day. If the alternative flight BA offer isn't at the right time for you, BA is legally required to book you on a comparable flight with them or an alternative airline.

Heathrow, London's massive global airport, will be most impacted by the strike.

The airline also claims that, since news of the strike was announced weeks ago, the "vast majority" of British Airways passengers had rebooked, or been refunded for their travel, ahead of the strike.

The UK flag carrier and its 4,300 pilots have been locked in a nine-month pay dispute that could disrupt the travel plans of almost 300,000 people. BALPA had said it would have called off the strikes this week if BA had engaged with the offer.

He said the union was willing to compromise, but BA was not prepared to "budge".

"The discussions must continue, they must be unconditional", he said.

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