Strike by cabin crew hits BA flights.

Hotel News - 24/05/2010

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The first of a series of five-day strikes by cabin crew at British Airways has kicked off. The industrial action is exacting a heavy toll on BA’s flights out of Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport.

Up to 40 per cent of British Airways’ long-haul flights and 50 per cent of its short-haul flights are affected. Up to 25,000 people will have to find alternative travel arrangements.

The strike by Unite union staff was scheduled to start last week but had been delayed by a legal challenge from British Airways. BA had won a court injunction preventing the strike on the basis of irregularities in Unite’s ballot of its members. However, the Court of Appeal overturned the earlier ruling, allowing the walkout to go ahead.

Two more walkouts are due, on 30 May and 7 June. BA has plans in place to cover a majority of schedule flights. On long-haul routes, the carrier aims to fly up to 70 per cent of ticket holders. Up to half of short-haul flights should be available.

The dispute between British Airways and Unite has been rolling for months. Earlier strike action in May over pay and working conditions already cost the airline £43 million. The latest walkouts could add another £100 million to the financial pain. BA recently declared its first full-year loss since being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987.

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