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Several Irish flights affected after British Airways cancels UK services over pilot pay dispute

Journal.ie logo Journal.ie 09/09/2019 Stephen McDermott
a airplane that is sitting on a runway at an airport: British Airways aircraft at London's Heathrow airport file photo © PA Wire PA Images British Airways aircraft at London's Heathrow airport file photo

PASSENGERS ON several Irish flights face disruption today after British Airways cancelled almost all services from UK airports on the first day of a strike by the airline’s pilots.

The carrier is locked in a pay dispute with its 4,300 pilots, and the strike could affect the travel plans of nearly 300,000 people around the world.

Several flights into and out of Dublin Airport are among those affected today, as is one arrival and one departure from Shannon Airport.

“After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this,” British Airways said in a statement today.

The airline said it remains willing to return to talks with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA).

“Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 percent of our flights”.

BALPA has rejected a pay increase of 11.5 percent over three years that the airline proposed in July.

BA says the offer would see flight captains receive “world-class” pay and benefits of around £200,000 (€220,000) a year.

It also points out that two other unions representing 90 percent of the airlines’ workers have accepted the 11.5-percent raise.

But in response, BALPA said that co-pilots’ salaries average around £70,000 (€77,800) – with the pay of junior pilots falling to just £26,000 (€28,900).

The lower level of pay leaves some pilots in heavy debt, since they are required to undergo training that the BBC estimates to be priced at around £100,000 (€111,000).

BALPA also points to a nearly 10-percent jump in pre-tax profits reported by BA’s parent company IAG last year.

Pilots are to continue their strike on Tuesday and are threatening to strike for another day on 27 September – and then possibly again closer to the winter holidays – if the dispute continues.

Passengers who may be affected are advised to check online to see whether they are affected by today’s cancellations.

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