Business Maverick

Business Maverick

British Airways Reaches Tentative Deal With Pilots’ Union

British Airways Reaches Tentative Deal With Pilots’ Union
A British Airways plane taxis at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, 28 August 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL)

British Airways reached a tentative labour agreement with unionised pilots, removing the threat of a walkout through 2027 as the flagship UK carrier cements a recovery from the Covid-19 era travel slowdown.

Members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association will now vote on whether to ratify the agreement in principle, which builds on pay and working-condition changes made last year, BA said in an emailed statement on Thursday. 

The airline’s fortunes have improved since it imposed a pay cut on pilots during the Covid-19 pandemic. Parent company IAG SA announced better-than-expected second-quarter earnings in July, citing BA’s performance on North Atlantic routes from London Heathrow airport. Overall, IAG expects capacity to return to 97% of pre-Covid levels by year-end. 

The deal with pilots follows an accord in August with 24,000 other staff for a 13.1% pay rise over an 18-month period. Airlines have been proactive in securing new pay deals with staff as they seek to avoid a return to last summer’s travel chaos, which saw companies scrambling to recruit enough staff to deal with the post-Covid travel boom.

The British airline came under fire for how it treated its staff during the pandemic, eventually rowing back on plans to dismiss and rehire all of its 4,300 cockpit crew. Questioned in Parliament last year amid travel delays, Corporate Affairs Director Lisa Tremble said the company was working to rebuild trust with staff and customers.

The company headed off a pilots’ strike last October by rescinding pay cuts imposed during the pandemic.  

A union representative had no immediate comment on the tentative deal. 

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