The impact of the British Airways cabin crew strikes was revealed today as the airline announced a 14.2% dip in passenger numbers in May 2010.
As the latest five-day stoppage by the Unite union ended today, BA also announced that the strikes were costing the airline "some £7 million per day".
With Unite due to stage another five-day walkout from Saturday, BA said it carried just under 2.37 million passengers last month compared with just under 2.76 million in May 2009, with 14 days of May 2010 being affected by strikes.
The airline said that during the upcoming final strike period - from June 5 to 9 - it had planned "for an increased flying programme as more crew ignore the strike and report for duty".
BA went on: "We have announced that we are planning to fly about 80% of our long-haul programme, including all JFK (New York) services and also all South African flights as we approach the World Cup.
"The total cost of the strike period can only be assessed at the end of the disruption and will reflect lost bookings and reduced travel volumes offset by some volume-driven cost savings."
Meanwhile, Unite said the dispute had now cost the airline £119 million and claimed BA could lose £1.4 billion as passengers switched to other carriers.
The union is planning to hold another ballot of its cabin crew members, which it has to under employment law, and has warned of a summer of disruption unless there is a deal.
Cabin crew have now taken 16 days of strike action since March, with the removal of travel concessions from strikers now the main stumbling block to a settlement.
The union claimed that rest day working was now being offered to Gatwick cabin crew by BA managers in a bid to increase the number of trained crew who were able to work.
"Asking crew to work on their days off shows that, despite BA claims, the Gatwick operation is being stretched as some crew are on strike and others are being used to crew Heathrow flights because colleagues there are on strike," said a Unite official.
Nearly £800,000 has been collected through Unite branch donations to help finance the dispute.
Donations from other unions in the UK and 100,000 US dollars (£68,397) from America's giant United Steelworkers union have also been received.
Unite is considering increasing strike pay, currently £30 a day, for the next five-day walkout, in recognition of the financial hardship the workers are facing.Reuse content