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.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone