Disruption to BA flights will drag on after strike ends

The second strike by British Airways cabin crew, which begins this morning, is set to have a serious impact on the airline's operations even after industrial action ends on Tuesday. Research by The Independent reveals that at least 20 long-haul, wide-bodied flights to Heathrow next Wednesday have been cancelled - with the aircraft flown empty back to BA's London base.

The airline plans to run 55 per cent of short-haul flights to and from Heathrow, and 70 per cent of the long-haul operation, during the four-day strike called by the cabin crew union, Unite. Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, said yesterday that at least three-quarters of passengers would travel as booked. But when outbound long-haul flights are cancelled because of the strike, a corresponding inbound flight several days later cannot operate because there are no cabin crew in position.

Yesterday it became clear than flights from many key long-haul destinations would be cancelled on Wednesday. Four of the nine daily flights from New York are axed from the schedule, together with other US departures from Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington.

These cities all have two or more daily BA flights, allowing some passengers to be accommodated on earlier or later departures. But the only flights of the day from Baltimore and Seattle have also been cancelled - and travellers from the Pacific Northwest considering Vancouver as an alternative will find the single daily flight from British Columbia's biggest city is also cancelled.

The aircraft that would normally operate all these services will be flown back empty, unless more crew than expected report for duty and the services can be re-opened for sale. A BA spokesman said “Last weekend we were able to open up many extra long-haul flights for sale around the world, which allowed several thousand customers to fly with us”.

The environmental harm caused by these "positioning" flights will add to the reputational damage cause by the bitter dispute over staffing levels and working practices.

Flights from some of BA's most lucrative routes elsewhere in the world have also been cancelled after the strike ends. Services due to leave Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Lagos have been axed on 31 March. In addition, the airline cancelled nearly 40 short-haul flights yesterday as contingency plans for the second strike took effect.

BA estimated that each day's action last weekend cost £7m. The financial damage from the second stoppage is likely to be less, because the airline plans a full service from its base at Gatwick. Last weekend, very few cabin crew at the Sussex airport took part in industrial action.

Yesterday the divide between management and union widened, over the issue of travel concessions. Striking cabin crew have received emails telling them that their entitlement to free or heavily discounted flights has been permanently withdrawn. Before the strike, Mr Walsh warned cabin crew that “When I said we will withdraw staff travel privileges for those who do strike, I meant it”.

Yesterday the joint general secretaries of Unite, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, told striking cabin crew that “ The withdrawal of travel concessions from crew who have been on strike represents unacceptable anti-union bullying”.

They insisted that “Any agreement to end this dispute must and will include a framework for the full restoration of those travel concessions." But Mr Walsh reiterated his determination on BBC Breakfast yesterday, saying “The decision will never be withdrawn. Travel perks are non-contractual. We have never negotiated on travel perks with the union and Tony Woodley knows that."

BA’s rivals continue to benefit from the airline’s industrial strife. Carriers such as Jet2, Astraeus and Air Finland are providing capacity to bolster the short-haul operation from Heathrow.

Of the 60,000 passengers that BA is unable to carry either on its own aircraft or one of these “wet-leased” planes, 43,000 have been transferred to other airlines. Another 17,000 have been told they cannot be accommodated, and been offered the choice of a refund or rebooking on future BA flights.

*Talks between unions and Network Rail about a four-day rail strike from 6 to 9 April will continue on Monday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London