British Airways pilots' strike enters second day

BA has cancelled nearly all of its 850 daily flights, affecting the travel plans of more than 100,000 passengers.

    The walkout over pay by members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) trade union follows nine months of failed talks [Ben Stansall/AFP]
    The walkout over pay by members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) trade union follows nine months of failed talks [Ben Stansall/AFP]

    A landmark strike by British Airways pilots has entered its second day with more travel chaos and no end in sight in the long-running dispute over pay.

    BA has decided to cancel almost all of its flights for the second day in a row, it announced in a statement identical to one issued on Monday.

    The carrier, which is owned by London-listed International Airlines Group, said it has cancelled nearly 100 percent of its 850 daily flights, affecting the travel plans of more than 100,000 passengers.

    However, the pilot's trade union stood firm in its demands for greater salary and benefits.

    The industrial action by pilots, which is the first in BA's 100-year history, has seen flights axed for approximately 200,000 travellers, mostly from London Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

    In advance of the strike, BA offered full refunds or bookings on alternative dates or flights with a different airline.

    The walkout over pay by members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) trade union follows nine months of failed talks.

    With no talks scheduled, pilots will also stage another one-day strike on September 27.

    "Pilots are standing firm and have shown just how resolute they are," BALPA boss Brian Strutton said in a brief statement. 

    BA has offered a salary increase of 11.5 percent over three years, which it argues would boost the annual pay of some captains to 200,000 pounds ($246,000). 

    However, the union has rejected the proposal that was made in July, arguing that its members want a bigger share of the company's profits.

    BALPA estimates that the 48-hour strike is costing the airline a total of 80 million pounds ($98.6m) but BA has yet to give an estimate. 

    SOURCE: AFP news agency