UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — British Airways pilots began a 48-hour strike on Monday, canceling almost all flights and disrupting plans by thousands of passengers in an unprecedented move over a pay dispute.
The airline, part of the IEG Group, canceled 1,700 flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Monday and Tuesday ahead of a strike by the British Airways pilots’ union, the airline’s first ever strike.
Alex Cruz, the company’s chief executive, told BBC television he regretted the actions taken by the pilots’ union.
“This is definitely a subjective goal, which will punish customers, our brand and the rest of our colleagues.”
IAG shares fell more than 2 percent in early trade.
The company has offered an 11.5 percent increase in pilots’ salaries over three years, which it said would raise the highest-paid income of its pilots from 167,000 pounds ($ 205,000), plus allowances worth 16,000 pounds, to just over 200,000.
The average income of its pilots is around 90,000 pounds a year.
The pilots’ union demands that the pay package include a share of the profits.
“British Airways is in good times. We want to share these profits and share the pain in difficult times,” Brian Strutton, secretary general of the British Airways Pilots Association, told BBC television.
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