Latest British Airways News, October.

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  1. Latest British Airways News, October.

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    British Airways are more than just an airline, they’re a service that connects people from around the world. Flying British Airways is often a privilege, with class leading customer service and comfort, as well as award winning customer service.

    As a British Airways customer, you’ll enjoy an unparalleled experience, but it’s not always easy to keep up with the latest news coming out of the company. Throughout their over 40-year history, the company have been at the heart of some of the biggest stories of the day, so what’s going on with British Airways in October 2017? Here’s the latest news:

    Twin British Airways Pilots Retire with Landings 30 Seconds Apart

    They say twins share a remarkable bond, but two British Airways pilots have taken that to a new level. The twins, who have been with the company for a number of years, ended their final flights for the BA just 30 seconds apart, after clocking up more than 45,000 flying hours between them.

    Jeremy and Nick Hart celebrated their 60th birthdays by touching down at Heathrow and putting an end to their stories careers at almost the same time, despite the fact that the two brothers never flew in the same BA crew because they were both captains.

    British Airways Plans to Move all Employees to new Pension Scheme

    British Airways have opened talks with employees and trade bodies over a pension plan, just two weeks after its proposed plan to close its current pension scheme was attacked by unions.

    BA have suggested that the new scheme will be “more flexible” than the outgoing plan, giving staff pension choices such as whether to take the compulsory employer contribution as cash or for higher employer contributions.

    British Airways is proposing that all staff are shifted to the new scheme from next April and shutting the New Airways Pensions Scheme to future contribution from its existing 17,000 members. It said that the reasoning behind the shift was their £3.7bn pension deficit.

    Now, with full details in hand, the workers union Unite have said “Now that we have finally seen BA’s set of proposals, we will study them carefully and listen to your comments before putting forward our formal response.”

    British Airways Share Price Jumps Following Monarch Collapse

    Shares in UK listed airlines like British Airways have leapt up following news that Britain’s fifth largest airline, Monarch Airlines, has ceased operations.

    Monarch went into administration after failing to secure financial backing over the weekend and is the largest ever UK airline collapse, causing the biggest repatriation of British citizens in peacetime.

    All flights were immediately cancelled, affecting an estimated 300,000 bookings and causing customers to flock to alternative flight providers to get away and come back from their holidays and business trips. Indeed, BA have reported high numbers of customers seeking the British Airways contact details.

    That, alongside the reduced competition, has meant that the top four flight providers from the UK have seen shares climb dramatically. British Airways parent company, AIG, saw shares climb 2% on the news, whilst shares in Ryanair and easyJet both rose 3%.

  2. Talks Likely in Ongoing BA Strikes

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    It appears that the final casualty from the current round of strikes being undertaken by BA’s cabin crew will be BA122. The Boeing 777 from Doha to London was due to take off at 7am on the 31st of August, but the strike by members of BA’s mixed fleet crew at Heathrow continued their strike, ensuring that not only was the outbound flight cancelled, but the return leg was too.

    An estimated 1,400 Unite members have been on strike almost constantly for July and August in dispute over “poverty pay” and an issue wherein previous strikers have been refused bonuses. Those numbers represent around one in 12 of BA’s cabin crew, but it’s been enough to cause disruption to a number of flights.

    The ‘mixed fleet’ was set up in 2010 as part of the settlement of the last big cabin crew dispute at British Airways, but staff have inferior employment terms to longer serving members of the crew. Unite estimate that the mixed fleet cabin crew earn just £16k annually, including allowances. However, BA say they don’t recognise that sum, with the lowest a mixed fleet member earned last year was £21k, by their reckoning.

    Now, after 60 days of strikes and customers seeking the British Airways contact details, Unite are calling for a “pause for peace” and further negotiations with the airline.

    The union’s national officer, Oliver Richardson, spoke to The Independent, commenting: “Our members have shown great determination to highlight poverty pay, corporate greed and the bullying behaviour of British Airways.

    “The action led to flights being cancelled and British Airways being forced to spend millions on wet leasing aircraft to cover the operational disruption.

    “British Airways should use this ‘pause for peace’ in industrial action to reach a settlement to this long running dispute so it can rebuild its tarnished brand.”

    However, British Airways have enjoyed less flight disruption than previously imagined, thanks partly to the geo-political rift in the gulf, which has suspended many flights from Qatar and meant that their jets and crew have been available to help British Airways plug their gaps. It also helps that Qatar Airways are one-fifth owned by BA’s parent company, IAG.

    A pattern has begun to emerge with Qatar airways being utilised to replace cancelled flights, with the Heathrow-Doha round-trip cancelled every day, and passengers re-booked on the frequent Qatar Airways flights. It’s been a comfortable relationship for the pair, but it’s no substitute for happy staff.

    The longer the strike saga drags on, the more it begins to affect employee morale and the more negative press it attracts. As a premium brand, BA simply can’t afford to let this drag out forever – especially if the situation on the Gulf resolves itself.

    BA have said that they will wait to discuss arrangement to meet when the strike is over, so we may well have some news regarding the strikes soon.

  3. Talks Likely in Ongoing BA Strikes

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    It appears that the final casualty from the current round of strikes being undertaken by BA’s cabin crew will be BA122. The Boeing 777 from Doha to London was due to take off at 7am on the 31st of August, but the strike by members of BA’s mixed fleet crew at Heathrow continued their strike, ensuring that not only was the outbound flight cancelled, but the return leg was too.

    An estimated 1,400 Unite members have been on strike almost constantly for July and August in dispute over “poverty pay” and an issue wherein previous strikers have been refused bonuses. Those numbers represent around one in 12 of BA’s cabin crew, but it’s been enough to cause disruption to a number of flights.

    The ‘mixed fleet’ was set up in 2010 as part of the settlement of the last big cabin crew dispute at British Airways, but staff have inferior employment terms to longer serving members of the crew. Unite estimate that the mixed fleet cabin crew earn just £16k annually, including allowances. However, BA say they don’t recognise that sum, with the lowest a mixed fleet member earned last year was £21k, by their reckoning.

    Now, after 60 days of strikes and customers seeking the British Airways contact details, Unite are calling for a “pause for peace” and further negotiations with the airline.

    The union’s national officer, Oliver Richardson, spoke to The Independent, commenting: “Our members have shown great determination to highlight poverty pay, corporate greed and the bullying behaviour of British Airways.

    “The action led to flights being cancelled and British Airways being forced to spend millions on wet leasing aircraft to cover the operational disruption.

    “British Airways should use this ‘pause for peace’ in industrial action to reach a settlement to this long running dispute so it can rebuild its tarnished brand.”

    However, British Airways have enjoyed less flight disruption than previously imagined, thanks partly to the geo-political rift in the gulf, which has suspended many flights from Qatar and meant that their jets and crew have been available to help British Airways plug their gaps. It also helps that Qatar Airways are one-fifth owned by BA’s parent company, IAG.

    A pattern has begun to emerge with Qatar airways being utilised to replace cancelled flights, with the Heathrow-Doha round-trip cancelled every day, and passengers re-booked on the frequent Qatar Airways flights. It’s been a comfortable relationship for the pair, but it’s no substitute for happy staff.

    The longer the strike saga drags on, the more it begins to affect employee morale and the more negative press it attracts. As a premium brand, BA simply can’t afford to let this drag out forever – especially if the situation on the Gulf resolves itself.

    BA have said that they will wait to discuss arrangement to meet when the strike is over, so we may well have some news regarding the strikes soon.

  4. British Airways Staff Announce Further Strike Action

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    Three months ago, we brought you news that British Airways cabin crew had voted in favour of strike action in their dispute over pay and benefits with the company. That strike was due to take place on the 16th of June, running through the 20th, and did indeed take place.

    Those strikes were in relation to benefits not being reinstated for staff who took place in industrial action, and it not appears that British Airways staff are ready to strike once again.

    Today, British Airways cabin crew have announced that a fresh round of strikes will take place, to coincide with the busy summer holiday period, when many families are heading away on their holidays.

    It’s estimated that 10,000 passengers are expected to be affected by the new two-week industrial action by mixed fleet cabin crew, in what will be a significant escalation in the long-running pay dispute.

    The action is scheduled to begin on July 19th and run for 14 days. That’s just three days after they complete a 16-day stoppage, and is intended to force BA back to the negotiating table. However, BA have said that they expect that only one in two hundred flights will be affected by the new strike action, and that 99.5% of their fleet will still be running. That’ll be a reassurance for customers who contact British Airways, looking for confirmation about their summer flights.

    Unite, the union who represent British Airways crew, said that this latest action underlines the determination of its members to continue campaigning for a better deal. National officer Oliver Richardson said: “Today’s announcement of a further escalation, underlines the determination of our members in their fight for better pay and against British Airways’ bullying behaviour.

    “We are seeing strong support for the ongoing strike action.

    “The time and money British Airways is spending on wet leasing aircraft and bullying striking cabin crew are resources which could easily settle this dispute.

    “It’s high time British Airways stopped spending millions defending low pay and its bullying approach by negotiating a settlement to this long running dispute.”

    In regards to easing aircraft, Unite have launched legal action. It’s a challenge to the Government’s go-ahead for the least of nine aircraft from Qatar Airways during current stoppage, which started last weekend. The union have already staged a protest outside the London head office of Qatar Airways, and Mr Richardson said: “The wet leasing of Qatar Airways’ aircraft should not have been approved by the Government or been sought by British Airways.

    “We believe it is not only in breach of European regulations and non-compliant with civil aviation safety, but has also driven a coach and horses through British Airways’ own corporate social responsibility policy, which is not worth the paper it’s written on.

    “British Airways customers will be alarmed at Qatar Airways’ record on sex discrimination and the lengths British Airways is going to try an undermine lawful strike action.”

    For their part, BA are saying that strikes are unnecessary, and that Unite should allow their members to vote on the deal put to staff by BA two months ago.

  5. British Airways Cabin Crew Vote for Further Strikes

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    British Airways cabin crew have voted in favour of four more days of strike action in what is the latest in a long-running pay and benefits row.

    The strike will start from the 16th of June and will run for 4 days, even though BA say that the crew’s pay and rewards are in line with competitors. Unite, the union which manage BA’s cabin crew said that the action is about benefits not being reinstated for crew which took part in earlier industrial action.

    The airline has called the new strike “completely unnecessary”, and has promised customers that there will be no flight cancellations during the strike period, and that they’ll do their best to ensure that there’s minimal disruption for customers.

    The news comes at a potentially awkward time for British Airways, during a week when they’re still recovering from an IT failure which caused 75,000 customers to be stranded at airports for days.

    Having initially refused to comment about the nature of the IT failure, British Airways recently moved to suggest that the IT failure was down to a “power surge”, which was promptly shot down by IT experts, who suggested that a power surge couldn’t do that kind of damage. Those statements were affirmed by local power companies, who confirmed that no surge had been detected at the time BA said it happened.

    Now, The Times have learned that the power supply unit at the centre of the BA fiasco was in perfect working order, but was deliberately shut down by a contractor who made a catastrophic blunder, which wiped over £100m off the value of their parent company and will cost BA another £100m in compensation.

    Evidently then, British Airways see this as an inopportune moment for their cabin crew to strike, with a British Airways spokeswoman saying: “We had reached a deal on pay, which Unite’s national officers agreed was acceptable. We urge Unite to put the pay proposals to a vote of their members.”

    Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary for legal services, stressed the lack of respect BA has shown its staff by not reinstating the benefits of those who chose to strike. He said: “In an airline of the size and status of BA, passengers want to know staff are treated with respect.

    “Punishing staff for using legitimate industrial means to reach a wage deal is a culture that Unite cannot accept and a culture that will ultimately damage the BA brand.”

    Thus far, members who are on the airline’s mixed-fleet agreement have staged 26 days of strikes during the disagreement. Unite claim there are around 2,900 cabin crew members on mixed-fleet agreements, which operate on both short and long-haul agreements.

    Where the disagreement will go next is anyone’s guess, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see BA move to neutralise this latest scandal in a bid to stem the continued damage to their reputation with British and overseas customers.

  6. British Airways’ ‘Power Surge’ Claim Shut Down by IT Experts

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    The huge IT failure that grounded British Airways’ flights across the UK and caused 75,000 passengers serious delays over a busy bank holiday weekend has proven to be a huge problem for BA.

    Damaging their stellar reputation for customer service and wiping an eye-watering £170m off the share price of their parent company IAG, British Airways have been bombarded with calls by those seeking an explanation as to what happened.

    Up until now, British Airways have suggested that a “power surge” was to blame. BA’s chairman and chief executive, Alex Cruz, said on Monday that the surge was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”. But multiple data centre designers have told the Guardian that a power surge would not be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up, which is what would have been required to cause the damage it did.

    James Willman, chief executive of the data centre consultancy firm Future-Tech said: “It’s either bad design or there’s more to the story than just a power surge, you have something specifically that you build in to a data centre called surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this incident. You also have an uninterruptible power supply, a UPS, and part of its job is to condition the power” – ie smooth out the peaks and flows in current.

    “Between those and a quality earthing system, you should be protected from power surges,” Wilman concluded.

    According to a report in The Times, SSE and UK Power Networks (the two companies who provide energy to the area), there was no power surge in the area at this time – let alone one which could do the kind of damage BT are alleging.

    The news of the IT failure came just days after the NHS and other companies around the world suffered crippling attacks which held their data for ransom, drawing into sharp relief the lack of IT infrastructure spending being made by big companies around the world.

    Andy Hirst, specialist projects director at the data-centre builders Sudlows said it was shocking just how many data centres had the resilience to deal with common problems, saying “A number of failures could have resulted in the downtime. Some organisations invest millions in IT equipment but seem to overlook the infrastructure required to ensure the IT equipment is kept running with no power outages.”

    It’s worth noting that the airline industry is notorious for utilising outdated infrastructure long after standards have improved. This is for a number of reasons, including cost and the fear of downtime on their flights, but it remains a serious issue for companies in the sector.

    Clearly then, there appears to be more to the story than BA are letting on, and with many still choosing to contact British Airways to seek an adequate explanation, this is a story that looks set to develop further.

  7. Will British Airways’ Cabin Crew Strike Affect Your Christmas?

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    It seems like a yearly occurrence now, but as we creep closer to Christmas the threat of strikes from major transport agencies looms ever present. Often tied in to unfair contracts and squeezed out of employment, striking is a legitimate form of protest from disaffected workers, despite the inconvenience caused by it.

    Now, more than 2,000 British Airways cabin crew members based at Heathrow airport could go on strike over Christmas after voting overwhelmingly in favour of walkouts, after a continued dispute over pay levels. The crew are part of BA’s mixed fleet, and make up around 15% of the total numbers of stewards at the airline.

    The dispute has arisen after the airline’s negotiators offered a 2% pay rise on what was described by Unite as ‘poverty pay’ levels for staff. The BA have in turn accused Unite of creating uncertainty for passengers during the Christmas period. They’ve further said that they intend to resolve the issue without causing disruption, but that hasn’t stopped people calling the British Airways phone to find out if there winter holiday plans are going to be affected.

    Average pay, including allowances, for BA cabin crew in the mixed fleet is just £16,000 a year. Basic pay sits at an incredible £12,000 a year, which Unite has said leads to many crew sleeping in their car between flights or taking second jobs in order to survive. British Airways, on the other hand said crew would normally make around £21,000 with bonuses included.

    In order to gauge support for the strike, Unite balloted 2,500 staff at Heathrow. In total, 79% of the vote opted to strike on a 60% turnout.

    It’s not the first time that BA’s mixed fleet staff have considered a strike either, with 2014 finding discontent around the differential in pay between new recruits and the company’s bosses. Willie Walsh, the chief exec at BA’s parent company IAG earned £6.5m in 2015, for example.

    Matt Smith, Unite regional officer, said that the cabin crew at BA were at “breaking point”, adding “Mixed fleet crew earn just over the minimum wage and below the national average. Significant numbers of crew are taking on second jobs, many go to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to be sick. British Airways bosses need to wake up to the anger and the injustice here.”

    Smith contends that the low pay is not only unfair, but it’s also a significant safety issue for aviation, saying “Inexperience, fatigue, and the fact that BA recently cut the length of crew training courses means Unite is genuinely concerned about the potential repercussions.”

    BA have said that they’ve made an offer which would increase basic pay and hourly duty by a minimum of 7%, adding “We are extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers. Mixed fleet Unite represents about 15% of our cabin crew.

    “We remain focused on resolving this issue as quickly as possible without any disruption to customers. We have proposed a fair and reasonable pay increase to mixed fleet cabin crew, which is in line with that accepted by other British Airways colleagues and which will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors.”

    Smith is urging BA to solve the issue as quickly as possible, but it could be some days before we hear any concrete news about wage increases for staff. All of which, of course, has led many customers to ask whether the strike will affect their travel plans.

    Well, the most likely answer to that is no, it probably won’t. As above, 2,000 cabin members might sound like a lot, but it’s only 15%. In a worst case scenario, BA might reduce numbers of cabin staff on flights in order to compensate, but it’s not as devastating as, say, a pilot walkout would be to their plans.

    Instead, any cabin crew strikes will affect an area of BA which they prize very highly indeed – customer experience. With fewer members of the cabin crew on each flight, the gaps between service for customers and the amount of time each cabin crew member can spend with guests on the flight.

    If, like many people, you chose to fly with British Airways for the levels of customer service that you receive on the flight, this might come as something of a disappointment. However, you shouldn’t see too much of a difference in your customer service.

    Indeed this could all be moot by the time you fly, because BA do seem keen to resolve the issue. All eyes will be on the flagship British flight company to see whether they can get their cabin crew back in time for the Christmas/New Year flight rush.

  8. What’s the Latest British Airways News (October 2016)

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    Are you looking to catch up on the latest British Airways news, but don’t want to trawl the Internet in search of the good stuff? We understand your frustration and in this post, we’re going to bring you all the latest news from the UK’s flagship airline. So, let’s dig in, shall we?

    British Airways ditches free meals on short flights

    One of the great advantages of flying with British Airways on short-haul journeys has always been the free and excellent meals that they provide. However, in a shakeup of their current offering, British Airways have ditched the free meal for economy passengers on flights of less than five hours.

    The airline have signed a deal with Marks & Spencer’s to provide sandwiches, crisps, drinks and snacks to customers who will have to pay for the privilege of eating on their flights. Previously, economy passengers on BA flights could enjoy a free bacon sandwich or drink, but will now have to pay.

    Customers have taken to British Airways customer service to complain about the sudden and unwarranted change, but it seems like BA won’t be backing down from the change. Chief Executive Alex Cruz said that the change was brought in as a response to customers’ demands to a greater choice of upmarket snacks.

    You can now check in your bags at home – for £40

    Airlines have made fantastic strides in helping customers cut down the stress of getting a flight in recent years. We can now print tickets at home, use our smartphones to check in and even keep up to date with live travel information from anywhere.

    Now, British Airways have announced that passengers will be able to check in their suitcases from home and travel without their bags from later this month.

    If you’re living inside the M25 and flying from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City airports, you’ll be able to take part in the new service developed with the Airportr app. Simply book the service on the app and the team will arrive at your home address, weigh your baggage, slap a tracking bar code on and seal it inside an anti-tamper bag before taking it to the airport.

    In total, BA estimate this can save you 30 minutes in the airport and dramatically cut down on the stress of visiting the airport.

    British Airways deepen ties with Qatar Airways

    2016 is a tough time to be an airline. With the falling cost of the pound and constant pressure from low cost airlines, a company like British Airways has to do it all can to keep profits up. In that spirit, BA have created a relationship with Qatar Airways by establishing a joint venture which should allow both companies to compete more effectively with rivals.

    From next month, BA will be in a revenue sharing partnership with Qatar Airways on services between their respective hubs in London and Doha – an arrangement which will see the two airlines co-operating on flight schedules and fare pricing.