BA holds fresh talks over cabin crew strikes

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The Independent Travel

Fresh talks between British Airways and unions over ongoing cabin crew strikes broke up late Tuesday without any indication of whether any progress had been made.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh held six hours of negotiations with Tony Woodley, the joint leader of Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, in a bid to find a breakthrough in the long-running dispute over travel perks.

Members of Unite are due to end their current five-day walkout - the second of three - on Thursday, with the next one due to begin on Saturday.

The airline said it was planning to increase its flying schedule during the next strike because "growing numbers" of staff were willing to work.

It said it was planning to run more than 80 percent of long-haul flights - up from 70 percent this week and 60 percent in the previous strike.

Its short-haul schedule would increase to 60 percent, up from more than 55 percent this week and more than 50 percent in the earlier walkout.

The airline plans to fly more than 75 percent of customers, equivalent to 65,000 a day, holding a booking.

BA said it would fly its full schedule of 26 departures a week to South Africa, with thousands of fans expected to fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town ahead of the football World Cup, which kicks off on June 11.

The carrier also said it would serve more than 85 percent of its long-haul destinations and 100 percent of its short-haul network.

"We are very disappointed that Unite are continuing to take strike action," the airline said.

A Unite official said the strike was costing BA seven million pounds (10.3 million dollars, 8.4 million euros) every day.

"The cost for the strike is now 105 million pounds. BA is continuing to operate a reduced service," the official said.

Last month, BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds.

The main point of contention in the dispute is now the union's demand to reinstate flight concessions which have been stripped from striking crew.

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