Over 40 Schiphol flights scrapped in British Airways pilot strike

Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018
Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018Photo: NL Times NL Times

A two-day strike by the Balpa labor union for pilots in the UK has led to at least 44 flight cancellations at Schiphol Airport, according to information provided by the Amsterdam airport. Pilots for British Airways walked off the job on Monday, leading to about 1,700 canceled flights in total.

Of British Airways flights originating in Amsterdam, eight flights to Heathrow and three flights to Gatwick were canceled on Monday and again on Tuesday. The figures were the same also for flights destined for Schiphol.

One departure and one arrival between the Dutch capital and London’s Luton Airport were also canceled by Level Airlines, but the airline told NL Times it was not due to the strike. Passengers were given ample opportunity to rebook or cancel their itineraries, a spokesperson said. Still, the low-cost carrier shares the same parent company, IAG, as British Airways.

Unless the two sides come to an agreement, more strikes are expected on September 20 and 27. The airline loses roughly 40 million pounds each day the 4,000 pilots do not work, the BBC said.

The pilots say they are striking over stalled contract talks, cost cutting, and the erosion of the British Airways brand, according to the news outlet. The airline countered that investment in the carrier is at a high level.

The pilots want a better salary package than the three-year, 11.5-percent increase the airline offered in July. They say they took lower salary hikes in recent years to help the airline weather a distressed financial period.

Total revenue at British Airways in 2018 was up 6.1 percent, topping 13 billion pounds, with an operating profit of nearly 2 billion pounds before exceptional items were taken into account. The profit increase hit 10.3 percent, according to the airline’s year-end report.

IAG brought in 24.4 billion euros last year, with operating profit after exceptional items of 3.7 billion euros. Some 1.32 billion euros was expected to be paid to shareholders last year in various dividends, the airline group said in its year-end report for 2018.