British Airways has revealed it aims to fly around 45,000 passengers on each of the first three strike days later this month, which it says equates to 60 percent of customers scheduled to fly over the period.
As already announced BA says it will operate all long-haul flights and more than half short-haul services from Gatwick, and London City services will be “unaffected by the strike”.
It says it will also fly 60 percent of long-haul flights from Heathrow during the first strike period, set for March 20-22, along with “some of its own short-haul flights” from the hub. BA is also set to lease “up to 22 aircraft with pilots and crews from eight different airlines based in the UK and Europe", which it says will enable the airline to operate around 30 per cent of its short-haul schedule.
In addition the carrier says it has agreed with 40 other airlines “that customers can be rebooked free of charge during the actual strike period onto their flights if they had been due to travel on a BA flight which has been cancelled.”
The carrier has yet to release details on planned schedules during the second strike period (March 27-30), and says it will do so after the first strike period has ended. BA advises that customers should check their bookings at ba.com to see if their flight is still operating.
In a statement Willie Walsh said:
“We are deeply sorry that our customers are the innocent victims of this cynical attack on their travel plans by the leaders of Unite.
“We will continue to try to prevent this strike taking place, but we have reached a point when we must now offer some clarity to our customers who have waited with great patience since Friday when the strike dates were first announced.
“Due to the numbers of cabin crew who have called in to offer their services over the weekend, the schedule will be slightly larger than we had originally anticipated.
“Despite the desire of Unite’s leadership to ground the airline, the flag will continue to fly. Around 60 per cent of our customers will be able to fly as planned and many thousands more can be rebooked onto alternative BA flights or onto rival airlines.
“I recognise the frustration of customers booked for travel from March 27 onwards, when the second stoppage is due to begin, and we will do all we can to give them more clarity about their specific flight number once we start to understand just how many cabin crew are willing to work as normal.
“We remain absolutely determined to search for a sensible settlement and our door remains open to Unite, day or night. It is not too late for the Unite to call off this action and we will do all we can to reinstate some of the cancelled flights.”
For more information visit ba.com.