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BA pilots’ union calls for ‘cool heads’ after cancelling strike

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STRIKE action planned by British Airways pilots next week has been called off.

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The decision by the pilots’ union BALPA came as a relief to Islanders who were facing the prospect of soaring prices on flights to London with rival carriers on 27 September – the day of the proposed strike.

BALPA said that the pay dispute between its members and BA remained unresolved, adding that it was time for a period of reflection before the dispute escalated further and caused irreparable damage to the BA brand.

BALPA’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: ‘Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA, the pilots have decided to take the responsible course.

‘In a genuine attempt at establishing a time-out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on 27 September.

‘BA passengers rightly expect BA and its pilots to resolve their issues without disruption and now is the time for cool heads and pragmatism to be brought to bear. I hope BA and its owner IAG show as much responsibility as the pilots.’

Before yesterday’s announcement by BALPA, anyone looking to visit Jersey from London Gatwick, or Islanders needing to get to London or the south-east of England at the end of September were facing steep fares.

Travellers wishing to fly from Gatwick to Jersey on the day of the strike had been looking at a fare of £585 for a day-return with easyJet. The cost rose to £708 return for anyone wanting to catch the 7.05pm flight on Thursday 26 September and return to London from Jersey the following afternoon.

Ahead of its cancellation, the proposed strike also caused a knock-on effect for travel to other airports within reach of London. Yesterday’s cheapest prices with Blue Islands for a day-return from Jersey on 27 September stood at £440 for London City and £385 for Southampton.

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Earlier this month, a two-day strike by BA pilots saw easyJet prices for returns to Gatwick climb to around £1,000.

A spokesman for the Ports of Jersey said that the decision to cancel next week’s strike was welcome news for Islanders whose travel plans had been negatively affected.

BALPA added that should BA refuse ‘meaningful new negotiations’, it retained the right to announce further strike dates.

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