Strike action to impact BA Middle East flights
British Airways will be forced to cancel flights on select Middle East routes next week in response to Unite’s planned first-wave of strike action.The airline has confirmed flights on its Doha-Bahrain-London Heathrow route as well as some Jeddah and Dubai services will be grounded as a result of the strike, which will involve BA cabin crew.A BA spokesperson told TDME the disruption would affect flights scheduled for 18-22 May.”There will also be some cancellations of flights on 23 May as we get our aircraft, pilots and cabin crew back into the correct positions around the world,” the spokesperson explained. “We are trying to ensure that we cover as many countries as possible and the majority of Heathrow longhaul routes will be served across the entire strike period. However, due to the complexity of our Heathrow schedule we will be operating limited flights to parts of network but will look to reinstate flights where possible.”The spokesperson claimed the airline was confident crew members would “ignore Unite’s pointless strike call and support the efforts of the airline to keep our customers flying”.Earlier, BA chief executive Willie Walsh revealed the airline had secured agreements with more than 50 airlines, allowing it to rebook customers on partner flights. Customers will also be offered the chance to rebook flights up to 355 in advance with BA at no additional cost, subject to availability.Walsh was disparaging in his remarks regarding Unite’s decision to call a rolling series of strikes through May and June. “Unite’s leaders have deliberately targeted the busy half term holidays to cause as much disruption as possible for hard working families looking to spend some well earned time away,” he said. “We are confident that many crew [members] will ignore Unite’s pointless strike call and support the efforts of the airline to keep our customers flying.”Walsh described the strike as “entirely disproportionate”, adding that BA remained “absolutely determined to resolve the dispute and our door remains open to Unite, day or night.”It is not too late for Unite to call off this action and protect its members’ job security,” he stated. Despite the strike action, BA is confident it has the resources to fly more than 60,000 customers each day during the strike period. While Heathrow flights are mainly affected, all flights to and from Gatwick and London City airports will remain open during the strike period.