French fliers in limbo as BA strike grounds flights

Pilots' 48-hour walkout forces British Airways to cancel almost all its flights

Travellers in France are among many thousands hit by the first day of a 48-hour strike by British Airways' pilots that forced the airline to cancel almost all of its flights on Monday.

BA said on its website that it had “no option but to cancel nearly 100% (of) our flights”. Almost all BA flights taking off from the UK on Monday and Tuesday have already been grounded.

The airline has warned passengers with flights booked on Monday and Tuesday that it is likely they will not be able to travel as planned - and advised them not to travel to the airport.

In a statement on its website, BA said it had been forced to cancel so many flights because, "with no detail from BALPA (the British Airline Pilots’ Association) on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly."

Members of BALPA - which represents more than 10,000 pilots in the UK, more than 85% of all commercial pilots flying there - have walked out as part of a long-running pay dispute, with a further strike set for 27 September if the row remains unresolved.

“We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this,” BA's website said.

It added that it remains "ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA."

Customers have been offered refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline. It is expected that the problems will continue after the strike, because planes and pilots will need to be in position for subsequent journeys.

Members of the pilots union voted 93% in favor of a strike in July. BALPA said last week that it would be willing to call it off if British Airways returned to the negotiating table.

For more on BA flights over the next few days, and for information on rebooking flights or getting a refund log on to the BA website

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