British Airways forced to cancel thousands of flights as summer holidays in crisis

British Airways has been forced to cancel thousands of flights as fears of a summer holiday crisis loom. Chief executive Sean Doyle said up to 60 flights a day could be scrapped between March and autumn due to staff shortages.

Around 75 per cent are short-haul flights to EU hotspots including Spain and Italy, according to the Daily Mail. It comes as BA check-in staff based at Heathrow Airport, where the carrier mostly operates from, are also voting on whether to strike.

Nadine Houghton, of trade union GMB, said it was “no wonder” workers were considering industrial action. Both GMB and Unite unions were testing members’ appetite for strikes yesterday and union chiefs were poised to hold a formal, legally binding vote giving a mandate for a walkout if pay demands were not met. Strikes could begin by July and continue into August.

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BA said the majority of staff accepted a ‘generous’ one-off lump sum equivalent to ten per cent of their salary. But check-in staff rejected it because it meant taking a long-term pay cut. BA has already cancelled thousands of flights in recent months due to staff shortages and an IT meltdown, and critics have claimed it cut too many staff during the pandemic.

Mr Doyle said the airline had seen “significant losses over the last two years” but added: “I think when you look at what we had to go through, the decisions made at the time were appropriate”.

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