BA averts strike but flights may be empty

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The Independent Online

British Airways is expecting to operate all its flights from Heathrow and Gatwick today and tomorrow after a last-minute agreement averted a two-day strike by thousands of cabin crew.

Many of the planes however could be near-empty after Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, last week announced the cancellation of all flights from the west London airport and most of those from Gatwick during the threatened walkout.

Mr Walsh said at the time he wanted to give passengers sufficient warning to make other arrangements but his ultra-cautious attitude will have caused inconvenience to passengers and cost the company millions.

A spokesman said customers wishing to travel on any reinstated flight should contact the company or their travel agent to confirm. BA also said some flights at Heathrow today may not have full on-board catering.

Two three-day stoppages planned for the next fortnight have also been called off after agreement was struck at lunchtime yesterday. Under the deal, cabin crew will receive a two-year wage rise worth 4.6 per cent this year and the rate of inflation in year two. Mr Walsh denied the company had "caved in" to the union and said the deal was "positive".