By Shane McGinley
Flights to Dubai and Bahrain scrapped; carrier says more info on Mideast flights expected Tuesday.
Two flights to Bahrain and two flights to Dubai were cancelled by British Airways as the strike by the airline’s union continues, the airline confirmed on Monday.
Unite, the union representing British Airways cabin crew, called strike action on March 20 to 22 and is also due to strike from March 27 to 30.
While the BA website said that “flights are continuing to operate as normal at the moment,” flight BA0105, which was due to fly to Dubai from London Heathrow at 20:40 today has been cancelled.
A spokesperson from British Airways told Arabian Business that the impact of the industrial action had been “minor” as more staff than expected had showed up for work.
In total, four flights to the Gulf have been affected so far, two on the London to Dubai route and two on the London to Bahrain route. No flights destined for Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh or Jeddah were cancelled during the first strike period.
Any passengers whose flights were cancelled are being promised refunds and the passengers on the cancelled Bahrain flights were rebooked with other airlines such as Swiss, Jet Airways and Qatar Airways.
According to the BA website, the airline is “planning to operate 60 percent of flights” during the strike periods. The spokesperson added that information regarding any impact on flights destined for the Middle East during the second period of strike action would be made available on Tuesday.
The cabin crew’s union has warned that further strike action may be called in April if the pay dispute is not resolved.
The industrial action is over proposed changes to pay and working conditions announced by BA management, which has said it needs to shave more than $90m off the airline’s annual expenditure.
BA made a pre-tax loss in the nine months to December 2009 of $511m, compared to a loss of $104m in the same period in 2008.
The changes include a pay freeze in 2010, reducing the number of cabin crew on long haul flights from 15 to 14 and switching around 3,000 staff to part-time work.