British Airways Strengthens Contingency Plan As Strike Nears

In preparation for the imminent stirke by members of its cabin crew, British Airways plans to increase its flying schedule for the period of Unite's strikes as larger volumes of cabin crew call the airline to offer to work in support of the company's contingency operation. Since Monday, the number of cabin crew offering to work as normal has increased significantly - and is expected to grow further.

Following Unite's decision to call strikes for March 20, 21 and 22, the airline published its flying schedules for the affected period on Monday, aiming to fly 60 percent of its customers as planned.

British Airways is also announced that the number of other airlines offering their help for the strike period through charters or provision of spare seats has increased from 50 on Monday to more than 60. These developments have enabled the airline to reinstate some previously canceled flights and provide extra capacity for both longhaul and shorthaul destinations. For example, this will allow the airline to fly home more competitors and supporters from the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver.

"The determination of our colleagues across the whole business to keep the flag flying this weekend is increasing," said Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive. "I am delighted by the numbers of cabin crew who have been getting in touch with us to express their disillusion with Unite's position. Our crews just want to work as normal, do their usual terrific job and look after our customers.

"We will now have the potential to fly more than 4,000 additional customers per day and serve more destinations," Walsh continued. "We believe this is a helpful move at a time when customers are facing rising fares with alternative carriers. Morale among our operations teams is high. Yesterday was our most punctual day at Heathrow for months, thanks to the efforts of all parts of the airline."

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