Empty terminals as British Airways tells passengers to avoid travelling

Empty terminals as British Airways tells passengers to avoid travelling

British Airlines Chief Executive Alex Cruz in a statement quoeted by Reuters had urged the union to come back to the negotiating table in order to resolve the pay dispute.

BA said "we remain ready and willing to return to talks with Balpa".

"We had no option but to cancel almost 100 per cent of our flights", it said.

British Airways has canceled nearly all of its flights as a result of a 48-hour strike by the carrier's pilots over pay - leading to widespread travel disruptions for thousands of passengers.

The carrier, owned by London-listed International Airlines Group (IAG) and which operates about 850 flights per day in Britain, said it had no option but to cancel almost all scheduled flights.

British Airways' parent company, International Airlines Group, made a net profit of 2.9 billion euros past year.

BA said its team is working on refunding flight fees or re-booking flight schedules for affected customers.

A spokesperson at Balpa said: "Over recent years, [British Airways] pilots have made sacrifice after sacrifice to assist the [organisation], such as taking a pay cut, productivity increases, closing the final salary pension scheme, giving up annual leave days, a new rostering system and reducing flying pay".

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A fleet of British Airways planes at an airport. "But with the strike we expect last minute airfares to rise by 15-20 percent going forward", said Aloke Bajpai of ticketing firm Ixigo.

British Airlines Pilots Association has been accused of renegeing on a deal and bringing in a new deal which British Airlines believed to be negotiation in bad faith.

"BALPA has given us notice that they will strike on September 9th, 10th and 27th.

We've been trying very hard to do so for the best part of nine months now but here we are now sadly having to take industrial action", BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton told BBC radio.

"Airlines will often reject passengers' claims for compensation by arguing that strikes are beyond the airline's control and that airlines are thus not responsible for paying for compensation", according to AirHelp, but "a flight disruption caused by airline staff strike is definitely eligible despite what the airline states".

The union, which says it represents 85% of all commercial pilots in the United Kingdom, voted overwhelmingly to hang up their pilot caps Monday and Tuesday - and again on September 27, if the acrimonious pay dispute remains unresolved at that point. It also says that flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected by the strike. Passengers can also call BA directly to see if BA can get them on a flight with an alternate airline. If the alternative flight BA offer isn't at the right time for you, BA is legally required to book you on a comparable flight with them or an alternative airline.

The cancelled flights have impacted close to 200,000 passengers.

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