British Airways promises all passengers will get to their destination during July strikes as it plans to borrow Qatar Airways' planes

Rebecca Smith
BA is hoping its plans to wet lease aircraft from Qatar Airways won't be grounded
BA is hoping its plans to wet lease aircraft from Qatar Airways won't be grounded (Source: Getty)

British Airways has made an effort to beat turbulence from the 16-day strike action by cabin crew which is due to kick off on 1 July, with plans to draft in nine jets from Qatar Airways to cover the walkout period.

The carrier said all passengers will get to their destination, despite the action. British Airways said it is looking at "a range of options" and speaking with a number of airlines, with finalised contingency plans to be published soon for those passengers affected.

So-called wet leasing from Qatar Airways will also involve crew being brought in with the planes. To use jets from outside of Europe, BA has sought approval for the operation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

But union Unite has called for BA's plans to borrow Qatar planes during the strike to be turned down by the CAA.

Read more: British Airways cabin crew to stage two-week strike in July

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: "The Civil Aviation Authority must refuse British Airways' application to wet lease aircraft from outside the European Union as it is doubtful the airline can demonstrate it is compliant with aviation law covering safety."

Qatar Airways owns a 20 per cent stake in BA's parent company IAG.

In its latest travel information to passengers, BA aimed to reassure customers, saying the "vast majority of our services will be unaffected".

The airline said: "All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations, despite further proposed industrial action by mixed fleet Unite between Saturday 1 July and Sunday 16 July (inclusive)."

All flights to and from London Gatwick, London City and Stansted will operate as normal, along with the carrier's weekend only Mediterranean services to and from Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. It added that the majority of flights to and from Heathrow will operate as normal.

BA said the union represented one of its five cabin crew fleets.

The strike action is the latest development in a bitter row over pay, involving BA's mixed fleet, who operate on both long and short haul routes. It has now deepened, with Unite claiming unfair sanctions have been applied to those taking industrial action after previous walkouts, and that their benefits have not been reinstated.

The unresolved dispute is another headache for the airline which recently faced an IT meltdown over the late May bank holiday weekend, causing disruption for 75,000 passengers and leaving BA with an £80m bill.

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