BA plans more flights as strike talk hits deadlock

British Airways plans to increase its flying schedule during the final wave of strikes by cabin crew next week because of "growing numbers" of staff wanting to work as normal, the airline said today.

The announcement came as both sides in the long-running dispute resumed talks at the conciliation service Acas, with little sign of a breakthrough to the deadlocked row.



Members of Unite stayed on strike today for the third day of a five-day walkout, with another five-day stoppage due to start on Saturday.



Unite has warned of further strikes in the summer, but the union will have to hold a fresh ballot of members, which is likely to take four or five weeks to organise.



BA said it will increase its Heathrow long-haul schedule to more than 80% next week - up from 70% this week and 60% in the first strike period in March.



It will be increasing its Heathrow short-haul schedule to 60% of flights, up from more than 55% this week and more than 50% during the earlier strikes.



BA said flights at Gatwick, the UK's second busiest airport, will remain unaffected by industrial action due to the levels of cabin crew "ignoring" Unite's strike calls. Flights at London City airport will also operate as normal.



The airline said it will fly its full schedule (26 departures a week) to South Africa with thousands of fans due to fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town from Heathrow Terminal 5 ahead of the World Cup kick-off.



BA said it will also continue to fly its entire Heathrow to New York JFK schedule and serve in excess of 85% of its long-haul destinations and 100% of its short-haul network.



Customers are being contacted today to give them as much notice as possible about their specific travel plans between June 5 and June 9, when BA expects to fly more than 75% of customers - 65,000 a day - who hold a booking.



"Many thousands more will be able to use seats which have been secured on more than 50 other airlines to reach their destination. Customers can also be rebooked on to an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days. Refunds are also available for customers whose flights have been cancelled.



"The airline will continue to lease up to eight aircraft from other UK or European airlines to supplement its short-haul schedule at Heathrow," BA said in a statement.



"British Airways' flight programme is complex, involving the combination of rosters for 13,000 cabin crew, more than 3,000 pilots and 230 aircraft operating schedules. More than 8,000 flight and cabin crew have to be in the right place at the right time, either on aircraft, at airports or in crew hotels in more than 140 cities in more than 70 countries, every day."



Unite's joint leader Tony Woodley today travelled to London from Manchester, where his union's national conference is being held, to attend fresh talks with BA's chief executive Willie Walsh.



Unite said the 15 days of strike action since March had cost BA more than £100 million, with each day adding a further £7 million.



"On day 15, the cost for the strike is now £105 million. BA is continuing to operate a reduced service. Unite continues to receive reports of flights leaving with either no passengers or with significantly reduced passenger levels - yet loaded with food for full flight," said one official.



Meanwhile, the European Transport Workers' Federation today expressed its concern about the dispute, and the disciplinary action taken against cabin crew.



Francois Ballestero, the ETF's Political Secretary for Civil Aviation said: "The attacks of the BA management against workers' basic social rights make a strong union reaction absolutely unavoidable."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific