The most damaging strike in British Airways’ history ended at midnight, but disruption continues – with more than 50 fresh flight cancellations to and from London Heathrow.
The two-day walk-out by pilots in a pay dispute grounded almost every BA flight on Monday and Tuesday.
The stoppage by members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) led to the cancellation of around 1,700 flights affecting almost 200,000 passengers and costing British Airways up to £100m – as well as an unquantifiable amount in goodwill and lost bookings.
While departures and arrivals re-started in Wednesday morning, the airline has grounded many short-haul flights and is warning of further disruption.
British Airways says nearly half its aircraft fleet and more than 700 pilots have started the day in the wrong places.
While cabin crew have not been taking industrial action, the disruption to their rosters by spending extra days in various locations around the world means that many of them are unable to work their rostered duties.
Dozens of inbound cancellations to Heathrow and Gatwick had been anticipated, because outbound flights did not take place on Monday or Tuesday.
But The Independent has identified more than 50 additional cancellations to and from Heathrow, including links with Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester.
Flights to and from many European cities, including Barcelona, Munich, Rome and Stockholm, have also been grounded.
Around 9,000 passengers have been affected. Some cancellations had already been announced, but many were unexpected.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, if less than two weeks’ notice is given of a cancelled flight, the airline must pay cash compensation.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We are very sorry for the disruption Balpa’s industrial action has caused our customers.
“The nature of our highly complex, global operation means that it will take some time to get back to a completely normal flight schedule however, we plan to fly more than 90 per cent of our flights today.”
Besides the loss of pay for striking pilots, staff travel privileges have been withdrawn by BA.
The general secretary of the pilots’ union, Brian Strutton, said: “Surely any reasonable employer would listen to such a clear message, stop threatening and bullying, and start working towards finding a solution?”
With no sign of an imminent agreement, Balpa is continuing with its plan another stoppage later this month.
The airline is expected to start sending out cancellation notifications today or tomorrow for the 27 September walk-out.
Affected passengers are entitled to a flight on another airline on the same day as originally planned, if a seat is available.
Travellers can alternatively choose a full refund or a flight on British Airways on a different day.