It's the first pilots’ strike in the airline’s 100-year history.

By Cailey Rizzo
September 09, 2019
British Airways planes at Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport, London, on day one of the first-ever strike by British Airways pilots. The 48 hour walk out, in a long-running dispute over pay, will cripple flights from Monday, causing travel disruption for tens of thousands of passengers.
PA - PA Images/Getty Images

British Airways was forced to cancel nearly all of its flights Monday and Tuesday due to a 48-hour pilots’ strike over pay.

The strike affects nearly 200,000 British Airways passengers. It is the first pilots’ strike in the airline’s 100-year history.

The airline is offering affected passengers the opportunity to rebook, seek an alternate airline, or refund their flight cost. The airline operates about 850 flights per day, the majority of which are through the United Kingdom, particularly the hub of London Heathrow, according to The New York Times.

A British Airways sign displays information on industrial actionn in the near-deserted departure area at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 in west London on September 9, 2019, as the airline's first-ever pilots' strike began.
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

It is expected that the two-day strike will have impacts on the aviation sphere for the rest of the week.

In a statement, the airline said it “had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent our flights” because it did not have information “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.”

The pilots’ union is planning another strike for Sept. 27. Should those plans go forward, the airline will contact passengers with alternate travel plans. Trade unions are required to give 14 days’ notice before going on strike.

Passengers should check the British Airways website for up-to-date information regarding the strikes and their impact.

The strike is over a deal the airline hoped to make with pilots: an 11.5-percent salary increase over three years. The pilots are striking for a greater share of the airline’s profit. The pilots’ proposal includes a seven percent salary increase in years when the airline’s profits are good and a zero percent increase when the airline was operating in a tighter margin.

All the other labor unions of BA staff — including engineers, cabin crew, and grounds crew — have accepted the 11.5-percent increase.

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