In The Eye Of the Beholder Day Three Of BA Cabin Crew Strike <


Bookmark and Share


In The Eye Of the Beholder Day Three Of BA Cabin Crew Strike

Daniel Guevarra

March 23, 2010 – British Airways flight attendants returned back to work today from the picket lines so as not to interrupt Easter travelers. They will resume their position at the picket line on the 27th. 

On day one of the strike British Airways began to suspend flight attendants for failing to show up to work. On day two Unite, the union that represents the flight attendants, reported the air carrier was bullying and harassing its union members. On day three of the strike Unite reported the strike action had been successful while British Airways reported their contingency plan was a success. 

On the third day of the BA stoppage Unite issued an update of how the strike is “biting,   the evidence shows that BA's much-vaunted contingencies plans are failing.

Of the 77 scheduled flights, 37 flights were empty, which included flights to JFK, Tel Aviv, Miami, Washington and LA.  Most of the flights to the US were empty. There were only three flights operating normally; Hong Kong, Bangkok and Vancouver. Unite further reported that British Airways managers dressed as flight attendants, trying to give the appearance that flight attendants were crossing the picket lines. 

British Airways stated their profit outlook is unchanged and their contingency plans over the three days of flight attendant strike have been very successful. “Over the first two days, the airline operated 273 or 78 percent of its long-haul flights and 442 or 50 percent of its short-haul flights. Seat factors were good at 68 percent in long-haul and 69 percent in short-haul. Club World seat factor was just under 60 percent. In addition the airline operated 70 positioning flights, which in most cases carried cargo, to return passengers home with minimum disruption.

“We started the weekend with 82,573 bookings for the two days after our reservation teams had worked with our customers to reduce bookings (including accommodating some passengers for travel in the days leading up to the weekend) to reflect the smaller flying program. In fact, over the two days we carried 86,262 passengers, due to late additional bookings."


“This strong operational performance made possible by dedicated BA staff has significantly reduced the financial impact of the disruption. Current best estimate is that the 3-day industrial action will cost £7 million a day. Assessment of the cost of potential future industrial action can only be made after the event. As a result full year earnings expectations to March 31, 2010 remains broadly unchanged." 

Unite has urged BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh to come out of hiding and agree to talks to settle the cabin crew dispute which has grounded most of the airline’s operation over the last three days. Unite Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley visited picket lines around Heathrow Airport to address striking union members, reaffirming that the union remained ready for talks at any time before the next strike commenced, scheduled to run for four days from Saturday March 27. However, the union has yet to receive any positive response from British Airways.  Mr. Woodley said, “Willie Walsh’s silence is deafening.  Where’s Willie? He has not been seen or heard from today while his business grinds to a halt.

“BA needs to wake up and understand that a dispute like this can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement.  Cabin crew have sent the company the most powerful message over the last three days that they will not be cowed or bullied into accepting industrial dictate.  I am proud of their solidarity and resilience, and the support they have given to this dispute, which none of them wanted. I would like to hear BA’s board justify spending millions on a floundering strike-breaking operation when they turned down an offer of more than £55 million in cost savings from their own cabin crew.

“We estimate that BA may have spent as much as £18 million on leasing airplanes over the last three days.  And it is beyond dispute that most of its long-haul flights have been cancelled, and most of those which have taken off are half-empty or completely passenger-free. This is the economics of the madhouse, which can only lead to suspicions that there is another, union-busting, agenda at work here.  Trying to break Unite will break BA’s bank account.  That is why it is time to talk.  Pick up the phone, Willie."

 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator