BA flights from Dublin to Heathrow cancelled ahead of pilot strike

Row with pilots escalated on Friday when BA threatened to strip strikers and their families of perks, such as heavily subsidised travel, for three years

British Airways aircraft at London’s Heathrow airport. The Government is being urged to intervene in the dispute between pilots and British Airways ahead of strikes which will ground flights. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

British Airways aircraft at London’s Heathrow airport. The Government is being urged to intervene in the dispute between pilots and British Airways ahead of strikes which will ground flights. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

 

All of the British Airways flights between Dublin and Heathrow airport in London tomorrow and Tuesday have been cancelled as a result of strike action by pilots.

However, BA services between Dublin and London City Airport are unaffected by the industrial action.

Eight flights departing from Dublin to Heathrow and the same number arriving flights have been cancelled on both Monday and Tuesday, a spokesman for the airline confirmed.

BA offers two routes from Dublin to London, one to Heathrow and another to London City Airport. A spokesman for British Airways said that while flights to and from Heathrow have been cancelled, flights to London City Airport are not affected by the strike and will proceed as planned.

The flights to and from the City Airport are BA CityFlyer flights whose pilots are not involved in the strike action.

British Airways and Aer Lingus are owned by the same company - the Willie Walsh-led International Airlines Group - and codeshare a number of routes, but a spokesman for BA said that only British Airways planes would be affected, even if the AerLingus flight has a BA flight number.

All other airports in Ireland are unaffected by the strike action.

Dozens of British Airways flights have been cancelled on Sunday, hitting holidaymakers and business travellers trying to return to Britain ahead of the two-day pilot strike set to begin on Monday.

Roughly 50 of Sunday’s flights have been grounded, mostly those coming into the UK, because the airline is unable to park additional planes at its bases in London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The disruption that has led to all but a few flights being cancelled on Monday and Tuesday will also roll into Wednesday, with BA already forced to pull some flights because its planes will be in the wrong locations.

Most customers have been notified of changes to affected flights but the airline is braced for additional unexpected cancellations on Wednesday.

The extra disruption outside the official strike days is expected to affect thousands more customers, on top of the 280,000 already hit by the 1,700 grounded flights on Monday and Tuesday.

Row with pilots

The row with pilots, the gravest industrial action in the airline’s history, escalated on Friday when BA threatened to strip strikers and their families of perks, such as heavily subsidised travel, for three years.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots’ union Balpa, said on Sunday that the union would challenge the measure in the courts, adding that the action made the dispute “harder to resolve”.

“This threatening behaviour is expected from BA,” he said. “We knew they were going to threaten to do that, it’s what they do in every strike dispute.”

BA pulled perks from striking cabin crew in previous disputes.

Mr Strutton added: “The cabin crew ended up challenging it and said it wasn’t lawful and we’ll do the same. It does make the situation much harder to resolve, it shows they are not trying to fix the dispute.”

Despite several previous industrial disputes with cabin crew and staff, next week’s strike is the first time that BA’s pilots have walked out.

The union is planning for extended action that would prolong the chaos from this week. Thousands of BA pilots had drawn up plans to contribute to a private fund for an extended strike period that would see hundreds more flights grounded in the coming months.

An additional strike is already planned for September 27th, after nine months of pay negotiations between the two sides.

Pilots asked for a three-year deal with better profit-sharing but BA claimed its pay offer of 11.5 per cent over that period was fair.

The Unite and GMB unions, which represent nine out of 10 BA staff, had recommended the same pay offer to their members.

An average BA pilot earns about £90,000 (€99,300) , according to the airline. Captains earn an average of £167,000 plus £16,000 in allowances and the proposed pay rise would take them over £200,000.

- Additonal reporting by the Financial Times