****UPDATED TO REFLECT REUTERS REPORT QUOTING IAG CEO WILLIE WALSH REGARDING THE WET LEASE APPLICATION****
British Airways is to wet lease nine A320 family aircraft from Qatar Airways, to cover its operations during next month’s planned strike by Mixed Fleet crew.
The carrier submitted an application to the Civil Aviation Authority earlier this month – The official CAA record said that the carrier had applied to wet lease the aircraft “between July 1 and 16, 2017, and for additional periods, yet to be defined, for a maximum of two months”.
Under a wet lease agreement, a carrier provides aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance to another airline.
The record said that the application had been made “on the grounds that the lease is justified on the basis of exceptional needs”… “to enable British Airways to continue passenger operations in light of planned operational disruption by its Mixed Fleet cabin crew”.
Earlier this month the Unite union announced plans for a two-week long strike by Mixed Fleet crew, stating that BA had “formed a blacklist to impose sanctions” on cabin crew striking during previous periods of industrial action.
In a tweet, Unite urged the CAA to block BA’s plans to wet lease Qatar Airways aircraft, warning that “the lease could be in breach of aviation law, if British Airways was unable to demonstrate that an equivalent level of safety standards would be applied to the aircraft”.
But Reuters quotes IAG CEO Willie Walsh as saying that “those airplanes will fly”, when asked if the application to use the planes had been successful.
Qatar Airways owns a 20 per cent stake in BA’s parent company IAG, and is also a member of the Oneworld alliance along with BA and fellow IAG carrier Iberia.
The wet lease agreement is currently being discussed on our forum here.