British Airways strike: Airline declines to tell travellers about contingency plans

With a 16-day cabin-crew strike due to start in less than 40 hours, British Airways has made no public announcement for 10 days about the flights that will, and will not, operate.

Members of the Unite union working for BA’s Mixed Fleet operation are walking out in the latest and longest stoppage since their pay dispute began. They will strike from 1 to 16 July inclusive.

BA says: “The vast majority of flights to and from London Heathrow will operate as normal.” But judging from the number of anxious passengers who have contacted The Independent travel desk, there is still considerable concern among travellers. 

The strike was called by Unite on 16 June. Three days later, British Airways made a brief online announcement about the strike, as airline managers prepared contingency plans. These include applying to the Civil Aviation Authority for permission to deploy Qatar Airways planes, which are currently idle due to the geo-political dispute in the Gulf.

Mixed Fleet comprise about 35 per cent of cabin crew at Heathrow, and work on about one-third of BA’s routes.

Research by The Independent has identified a number of cancelled flights on Mixed Fleet routes, such as Abuja, Doha and Muscat.

No evidence has been found of cancellation on routes normally crewed by Eurofleet or Worldwide — the two “legacy” teams based at Heathrow.

Previous stoppages have demonstrated that travellers book away from airlines where strikes are threatened, rather than face uncertainty, thereby damaging the airline’s earnings.

BA says: “All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations.” However, the carrier does not specify a time frame. The Independent is aware of some passengers who have been told they have been re-booked on flights over 24 hours later than their original departure, though with other options available.

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