BA strike gives rivals a boost

BRITISH Airways (BA) faced the first day of a mammoth cabin crew strike action yesterday, while rival easyJet reported a spike in bookings from new passengers.

BA said yesterday that it flew at least one flight to all of the short haul destinations it serves, while 85 per cent of long-haul destinations were served.

Gatwick and City airports remain unaffected by the strikes and BA maintained that it was keeping to contingency plans that will see 60 per cent of long haul and 50 per cent of short haul flights in operation.

A statement from the airline said yesterday: “Our operations around the world have got off to a good start this morning. The numbers of cabin crew reporting at Heathrow are currently at the levels we need to operate our published schedule.”

The row between BA and Unite remains bitter, with chief executive Willie Walsh lashing out at Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson for updating his Twitter account with details of negotiations that took place over the weekend.

News of the strike translated into extra seat sales for rival airlines.

EasyJet said yesterday that it has seen an uptake in bookings on news of the strike. The budget airline saw more than £1m added to its bottom line during the last seven-day walkout by BA crew and easyJet chief executive Andy Harrison said he expects the same result this time.