Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

British Airways strike hits Heathrow flights

Passengers at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport
Some BA flights are being operated by other airlines

About 40% of long-haul and 70% of short-haul British Airways flights from Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 have been cancelled due to the cabin crew strike.

The airline has said passengers have experienced little disruption, however.

Some flights are being operated by other companies on behalf of BA as part of contingency plans.

There are picket lines outside the airport and a rally was organised nearby by the Unite union, which said more than 80 planes were grounded.

BA plans to operate all long-haul flights to and from Gatwick plus about half of its short-haul flights.

'Solid support'

All flights to and from London City Airport are expected to fly as scheduled, the airline added.

A BA statement said: "We aim to fly as many customers as we can this weekend.

"At both Heathrow and Gatwick we have got off to a good start and London City is operating as normal.

"Cabin crew are reporting as normal at Gatwick and the numbers reporting at Heathrow are above the levels we need to operate our published schedule."

However, Unite said early indications were that its 12,000 members were solidly supporting the three-day walkout.

Picket lines were mounted at airports including Heathrow, and Unite said no buses which normally transport crew to work had crossed picket lines.

'On time'

Passengers at Terminal Five said they had suffered little or no disruption.

American Jodi Rogers, 39, was flying to Boston after a 10-day holiday.

"As far as I know we are flying with BA and it's on time," she said.

"It was shortly after we landed here that we heard there was going to be a strike, which did concern us as we thought we may not be able to get home, but so far, there has been no trouble."

That view was echoed by fellow Americans Robert and Katharine Meckenburg, both 79, who were flying into Philadelphia.

"We checked in online and we're waiting to check our bags, so as far as we know we're flying," said Mr Meckenburg.

Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey told an estimated 200 union members at their rally near Heathrow that the "intransigent management" at British Airways could be defeated.

He said the dispute was "designed to do one thing and one thing only and that is to destroy organised labour".

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Times Online BA flight delays set to continue - 34 mins ago
Heart Radio London More BA Disruption - No Strike Resolution - 39 mins ago
Mail Online UK If this is a war of attrition, we'll win it, vows BA boss as cabin crew begin third day of strikes - 1 hr ago
London Evening Standard British Airways strike action continues - 1 hr ago
News Shopper DISCUSS: Is there support for British Airways cabin crew strike? - 1 hr ago

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