British Airways pilots ground planes in first-ever global strike

BA pilots have begun a global strike over a nine-month pay dispute. The two-day strike will ground most of the British carrier’s 850 daily flights and cost the airline €44.5 million per day.

British Airways (BA) pilots have launched an unprecedented 48-hour strike, walking out over a pay dispute.

The strike, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, will ground most of the 850 daily scheduled flights of the British carrier and disrupt the plans of thousands of travelers. A third day of industrial action is planned for September 27.

The airline confirmed it had canceled almost all its UK flights. 

“After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this,” BA said in a statement.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has said the airline should share its profits with pilots, who have had to accept significant pay cuts during difficult times. Now that the airline is profitable, it should raise the salaries of pilots accordingly, the union said.

Read more: Flight meltdown: British Airways boss defends cost-cutting

“This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said in a statement on Sunday. “It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.”

British Airways (BA) holds that its pay offer was fair and that the industrial action is unjustifiable.

A spokesperson for British Airways said the airline remains “ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA.”

Read more: British Airways receives record fine for passenger data breach

Thousands left stranded

British Airways dismissed a new BALPA offer last Thursday as an “11th hour inflated proposal” that was not made in good faith. BALPA stated the union would have stopped this week’s strikes if the airline had taken the offer seriously.

The walkout has forced thousands of customers to find alternative travel arrangements, and the airline has come under fire for its communication with passengers about the strikes.

The effects of the walkout will likely be felt for days. British newspaper The Guardianhas estimated that some 145,000 passengers will be affected by the strike.

According to BALPA, the strike will cost the airline €44.5 million ($49 million) per day.

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