NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – A schedule of flights released by British Airways indicates Kenya will operate a normal service between the March 20 and 22 when British Airways cabin crew down their tools.
British Airways Kenya Commercial Manager George Mawadri said that he was pleased with the schedule since customers flying from and into Nairobi would not be inconvenienced by the first part of the strike.
He regretted the pronouncement by Unite to go ahead with the decision to strike without due regard to how this move would affect travellers. “Our customers are our number one priority and we at British Airways are doing everything we can to ensure that we maintain a normal operation,” said Mr Mawadri.
A message from British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh stated that the airline was doing all that it can to ensure minimum disruption of travellers’ schedules during this time. “We have had nearly 6,000 volunteers in total to support our flying programme, including nearly 1,000 who have trained as cabin crew and the number is growing,” said Mr Walsh.
In addition, Mr Walsh announced plans that the airline has put in place to cushion itself against the effects of the strike. In his statement, he said that the airline will operate normal flight schedules from London City airport, including long-haul services to New York and all long-haul flights at Gatwick and about half the short-haul schedule.
Heathrow will operate a substantial proportion of the long-haul programme and a good number of short-haul flights assisted by chartered aircraft with crews from a number of UK and European-based airlines.
In addition, Mr Walsh moved to reassure customers that despite the uncertainties caused by news on the strike, business is showing signs of improvement. “Despite all the uncertainty Unite has created since it announced its ballot in January, passenger numbers for February were actually higher than a year ago – and our premium traffic rose for the first time in 18 months,” affirmed Mr Walsh
Last week, the British Airways cabin crew labour union announced that they would go on a seven day two part strike after talks between BA and Unite collapsed. Four thousand British Airways crew however voted against the strike and will be available for duty.
British Airways will announce the schedule for the second part of the strike which is slated to take place between the March 27 and 30.