British Airways pilots could call off strike if airline negotiates

British Airways said in August it was exploring options to supplement its fleet with aircraft and crew from other airlines. (Reuters pic)

BANGALORE: British Airways pilots could call off proposed strikes set for Sept 9 and 10 if the airline agrees to come back to the negotiating table, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said on Thursday.

The union has put forward a new proposal in a letter to British Airways Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz in an effort to reach a deal with the company, BALPA said in a statement.

BALPA said last month that the pilots would go on strike for three days in September in a dispute over pay that could disrupt the peak summer holiday season.

The strikes could still go ahead if the airline continues to refuse meaningful discussions, the union added.

“Our members’ resolve is very strong and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute,” BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said.

“Avoiding strike action and agreeing a deal with their pilots surely must be the desired outcome for British Airways,” he added.

The pilots overwhelmingly voted for industrial action in July and the airline, which is part of IAG, failed in a court bid to stop them.

British Airways has said the strike action was unjustifiable as its pay offer was fair and that the strikes would destroy the travel plans of tens of thousands of customers.

It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The airline said in August it was exploring options to supplement its fleet with aircraft and crew from other airlines, a practice known as wet-leasing, and working with partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take more customers.

IAG’s shares were 0.5% higher at 426.3 pence at 0836 GMT.