I can’t imagine that the juxtaposition is lost on anyone. The British Airways flight attendants are celebrating the next round of strikes while BA goes and posts more than a £500 million loss for the year ending in March 2010. The dysfunction at this airline is frightening and it will have a huge impact on you, the traveler.
You can be excused for thinking of BA as an Egyptian company, because they seem to be getting hit with all of the plagues this year. They’ve had heavy snow and strikes (£43 million hit). Oh yeah, and then there’s the business travel meltdown. Volcanic ash? Yep, but that wasn’t until April so this won’t even hit until the next fiscal year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see locusts next, though that would have far less impact.
Revenue was down £1 billion. Seriously. But low fuel costs certainly helped offset some of that. Still, the airline is hemorrhaging and needs some serious help.
So what kind of help will they get? More flight attendant strikes starting today. They’ll be striking from May 24-28, May 30-June 3, and June 5-9. This time, BA has had more time to prepare, so all flights from London/City and London/Gatwick airports will operate. For Heathrow flight info, go to the BA strike page.
The schedule has been set for travel through May 29. The schedule for travel from May 30-June 4 will come out this Wednesday, and the schedule for travel from June 5-9 will come out on Tuesday, June 1. Remember, just because they aren’t striking on May 29 and June 4 doesn’t mean everything will operate as expected. Planes and crews will be out of place on those days and for a few days before and after the strikes so flights will be canceled. Just make sure to stay up to date on ba.com.
It really seems fairly crazy to me that the flight attendants are continuing on with this strike. There is little doubt in my mind that all the uncertainty around the strikes and the volcano have pushed some people to think twice before flying through London and in particular, on BA. This strike is simply going to hurt more, and BA has made it clear that it’s not going to budge any further. If the flight attendants keep this up, they’ll simply end up being replaced.
If there’s ever been an airline in need of large systemic changes, it’s BA. The flight attendants are fighting a losing battle, but they seem to be fine with that as long as they take the airline down with them. What a mess.