Some cabin crew members of British Airways started a strike of two weeks on Saturday over a prolonged dispute in pay, risking further damage to the brand and disruption in travel, although the airline announced that most of its passengers would still fly.
Members of the airline’s mixed fleet cabin crew, which represents those who work both short- and long-haul flights, have been battling BA since 2016 over wages. The union representing the workers has called the offer by the airline poverty pay.
Although the dispute in pay has been largely resolved, the union said its walkout, the longest action taken in the industry, was a response to the sanctions placed on members in the union involved in a previous action the union members took.
The union said that passengers would look at the incident negatively and a great brand in Britain risks further tarnishing of its image and called on the airline to drop its threats and sanctions as well as resolve the dispute that has gone on too long.
British Airways has warned there could be more consequences for those taking part in the strike, but said all passengers would reach their final destinations.
BA announced on Saturday that a full schedule would be run from London City and Gatwick, while a small amount of services at Heathrow would have to be merged.
A research firm said close to 400,000 passengers would be affected during the strike period that is scheduled to last 16 days.
Willie Walsh the CEO of IAG the parent company of BA said Thursday he expected that all passengers would be flying, as BA applied to use another 9 planes from Qatar Airways with staff. On Friday that application had been given a green light.
The first threat by the mixed fleet crew to strike came during Christmas of 2016, although that strike was cancelled. However, there has been 26 days of strikes thus far during 2017.
The mixed fleet workers represent close to a third of the total cabin crew staff at BA of close to 16,000, though not all of its members will take part in the scheduled strike action.