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British Airways is preparing to cancel flights on at least five consecutive days in September following the announcement of strike action by pilots.
Members of staff represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) will take industrial action on September 9th, 10th and 27th in a dispute over pay.
Following the announcement, some customers flying between September 8th -12th have been told their flight has been cancelled.
In a statement, British Airways said: “It is completely unacceptable that Balpa is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.
“We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, Balpa has decided on this reckless course of action.
“We are now making changes to our schedule.
“We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible.
“However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.”
British Airways carries 145,000 customers every day – with a fleet of more than 280 aircraft.
“Our proposed deal of 11.5 per cent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to Balpa, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff,” added the airline in a statement.
“In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.”
However, Balpa suggested it would be cheaper for British Airways to meet their demands.
“A day of strike action will cost BA around £40 million,” argued a statement from the union.
“Three days will cost in the region of £120 million.
“The gap between British Airways’ position and Balpa’s position is about £5 million.
“Our proposal remains on the table should British Airways wish to reach agreement prior to strike action.”