British Airways pilots have announced that they will strike for three days in September, in an ongoing dispute over pay.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said it will call on its members to strike on September 9, 10 and 27.

BALPA said: “Over several days of ACAS talks, BALPA put forward a number of packages that we believe would have resolved this dispute without a strike, and which we could have recommended to our members for acceptance prior to strike action.

“BA did not accept any of these packages, and it is clear following discussions with members over the last few days that BA’s most recent offer will not gain the support of anywhere near a majority of its pilots.”

It called British Airways an “extremely profitable and successful company” and said that pilots had already made sacrifices including pay cuts, productivity increases and giving up annual leave.

The news comes as British Airways prepares to mark its centenary this weekend. BALPA noted that this would be the first pilots’ strike in the carrier’s 100-year history.

It also claimed that three days of strike action would cost the airline around £120 million, while the gap between the groups’ negotiating positions is about £5 million.

BA responded in a statement:

“It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.

“We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action.

“Our proposed deal of 11.5 per cent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to BALPA, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff. In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.

“We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action and protect our customers’ travel plans.”

It said that it was likely that many customers would not be able to travel and said it would offer refunds and re-bookings for passengers on cancelled flights.

It also noted that:

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
  • It is exploring options to supplement its fleet by wet leasing aircraft and crew from other airlines
  • It may be able to use partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

BALPA said its “proposal remains on the table” prior to any industrial action.