BA back in talks over cabin crew strike

1st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Airways was back in talks Tuesday over ongoing cabin crew strikes, as it announced it was planning to increase its flying schedule during the next walkout.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh was in negotiations with Tony Woodley, the joint leader of Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, though there was little sign of a breakthrough in the long-running dispute on travel perks.

The walkout affects flights from BA's London Heathrow hub, the world's busiest international passenger airport.

The current five-day walkout -- the second of three -- ends Thursday, with the next one due to begin on Saturday.

BA said it could increase its planned schedule for the next strike because "growing numbers" of staff were willing to work, the flag carrier said.

It was planning to run more than 80 percent of long-haul flights -- up from 70 percent this week and 60 percent in the previous strike.

Its short-haul schedule would increase to 60 percent, up from more than 55 percent this week and more than 50 percent in the earlier walkout.

The airline plans to fly more than 75 percent of customers -- 65,000 a day -- holding a booking.

BA said it would fly its full schedule of 26 departures a week to South Africa, with thousands of fans expected to fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town ahead of the football World Cup, which kicks off on June 11.

The carrier also said it would serve more than 85 percent of its long-haul destinations and 100 percent of its short-haul network.

"We are very disappointed that Unite are continuing to take strike action," the airline said.

A Unite official said the strike was costing BA seven million pounds (10.3 million dollars, 8.4 million euros) per day.

"The cost for the strike is now 105 million pounds. BA is continuing to operate a reduced service," the official said.

Last month, BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds.

© 2010 AFP

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