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BA strike ends but chaos rolls on as half of planes left at wrong airports

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
British Airways planes at Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport, London, on day one of the first-ever strike by British Airways pilots. The 48 hour walk out, in a long-running dispute over pay, will cripple flights from Monday, causing travel disruption for tens of thousands of passengers.
British Airways passengers face disruption after its pilots went on strike. Photo: PA

Passengers face continued disruption on British Airways flights this week, with more than half its fleet at the wrong airports after a two-day strike by pilots.

Thousands more travellers faced further delays and cancellations despite pilots returning to work after their first ever walkout at the airline.

BA, part of multinational airlines group IAG (IAG.L), said more than 700 pilots were also still in the wrong locations for flights they were scheduled to work.

The airline warned on its website it will take “some time” for flights to return to normal, with the disruption reported to have left planes and crew in the wrong locations.

The row over pay and conditions could see further walkouts, with another 24-hour strike planned for 27 September by British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) members unless the issues are resolved.

More than 1,700 flights were cancelled over two days, affecting almost 200,000 passengers.

READ MORE: Thousands of pilots walk out in first strike in BA’s history

The BA website's flight information page shows many flights were scheduled to run as normal from London Heathrow on Wednesday morning, but some were delayed or cancelled.

Flights to Aberdeen, Paris, Milan, Newcastle, Barcelona, Geneva and Zurich were among those cancelled, while one flight to Marseille left almost two hours late.

A BA spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the disruption Balpa’s industrial action has caused our customers.

“More than 4,000 cabin crew have had disruption to their rosters, and in many cases will be unable to operate again for several days due to legal rest requirements.

“Every single flight movement also has to factor in detailed planning, including engineering checks, maintenance, catering, fuelling, baggage loading, cargo and cleaning.”

BA has offered pilots a pay rise of 11.5% over three years, which it says would boost the pay of some captains to £200,000, but Balpa says its members want a bigger share of the company’s profits.

Balpa said in a statement: “Should British Airways refuse meaningful negotiations, further strike dates will be considered by the Balpa national executive team.”

The Balpa union claimed the strike cost BA £40 million a day.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “Surely any reasonable employer would listen to such a clear message, stop threatening and bullying, and start working towards finding a solution.”

Adam French, Consumer Rights Expert at Which?, urged BA to inform its passengers of their rights to claim compensation and alternative flights.