Global Airport News

Global Airport News

BA yet again is facing a new set of strikes by its cabin crew just as it completed its merger with Spanish carrier Iberia.

Unite, the union representing the UK carrier’s cabin staff, said it planned to hold a fresh ballot for further strike action “soon.”

The ballot is expected to be held in early January, allowing the union to call for stoppages at the end of the month if given the go ahead.

Tony Woodley, the union’s joint general secretary, accused the carrier of conducting a “vicious war against its workforce”.

Woodley said: “This airline has conducted a year-long assault on cabin crew collectively and on many of them as individuals. 

“We will not stand by while this airline bullies our members out of their jobs, and if it takes strike action to bring BA management to its senses, then that is the road we must, regretfully, travel.”

He said the union had made clear earlier this month that BA’s latest offer was not acceptable and he regretted it had not been possible subsequently to resolve the dispute.

The dispute was originally over staffing on long haul flights and has been running for more than a year.

Cabin crews have so far walked out 22 days.

The latest threat of strike action came as BA and Iberia finally completed its long awaited merger.

At extraordinary meetings in London and Madrid, shareholders of both airlines agreed to the tie up.

The two carriers have set up a new holding company International Airlines Group (IAG) which will begin trading in shares on January 24, 2011.

The new company will be the third largest aircraft group in Europe and the sixth largest in the world in terms of revenue.

The two carriers which will keep their own livery will jointly serve 205 destinations, operate 406 aircraft, carry about 58m passengers a year and generate about €13,800m revenues annually.

IAG said it will seek to add more airlines to its business in the future.

It said it also hoped to generate €400m in synergies after five years of working together.

These would come from cost savings (60%) and increased revenues (40%).

Antonio Vázquez, Iberia’s chairman, said the merger was one of the most important deals in the airline industry.

He added: “We are joining forces to become the genuine protagonists of the consolidation that has become necessary for our industry in recent years.”