British Airways pilots go on two-day strike

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 09, 2019 Published on September 09, 2019

Airline cancels most of its flights; 1,45,000 fliers world over likely to be hit

Indian and global travellers were left stranded on Monday when British Airways cancelled “nearly 100 per cent” of its flights following British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) strike action.

The agony for passengers could continue on Tuesday and also on September 27 as the industrial action by pilots is scheduled for these days as well.

“With no details from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent our flights,” the airline said in statement.

BBC News reported that the two-day strike is for an on-going dispute on pay and conditions adding that this is the first time that BA pilots have walked out and that the action could cost the airline up to £40 million a day.

The strike has the potential to affect 1,45,000 passengers that it carries daily, says the airline’s website. The airline offers double daily connections from Delhi and Mumbai to London apart from offering connections from Bengaluru and Chennai.

The airline website shows that BA CityFlyer (flights operated from London City airport), SUN-AIR and Comair flights were unaffected.

Meanwhile, Ankur Bhatia, Director, Amadeus India, said that whenever there is industrial action, airlines transfer passengers to other airlines.

British Airways is part of the OneWorld alliance which includes 13 international airlines including Qatar Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific and SriLankan all of whom operate to various cities here and also fly to London from their own bases.

However, it was not immediately clear if any of the passengers booked on British Airways from India were flown by any of the other alliance airlines to London.

What compounds the situation for Indian flyers going to London is that Jet Airways and Air India are the only two Indian carriers which operate to London. Jet Airways temporarily ceased operations on April 17 thereby creating a demand-supply mismatch which will get worse by BA’s pilot strike.

Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer, (B2C), Yatra, said that the news about BA pilots’ proposed strike was communicated a couple of weeks ago and the agency has been re-scheduling passengers on BA flights on different dates.

“However, it is a definite inconvenience to passengers who have been impacted, particularly for those who had urgent business and could not postpone their travel,” he added.

“The current average one-way fare for Delhi-London an Delhi-Manchester flight is ₹33.207 and ₹43,900 respectively. With the 48-hour strike coming into effect we expect last minute airfares to rise by 15-20 per cent in the coming week,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo.

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Published on September 09, 2019
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