British Airways flies to Nassau empty

1.6.2010   (The Tribune – USA)

BRITISH AIRWAYS is in trouble — plenty of trouble. We have not been following
the strike against the airline, but if what has been happening with flights to
New Providence in the past few days is any indication, those within the union
who have said they would not be “sad to see BA fail” might yet get their wish.

Talks between the airline and the union broke down again on Friday with the announcement
that the strike will continue until June 9. Apparently the crunch is now over

British Executive Officer Willie Walsh has made it clear that the airline will
never reinstate concessions to staff who went on strike. Derek Simpson, the striking
Unite’s joint leader replied: “He has refused to reinstate travel concessions
in full despite Unite making it clear that the union would suspend the strike
if he did so.”

The strike is estimated to cost BA £105 million.

“British Airways seems resigned to facing the short-term losses in order to secure
changes in working practices and cost savings in the longer term,” said Jonathan
Wober, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London with a “hold” recommendation
on the stock. “Shareholders seem to be regarding this as a one-off cost, as long
as the results that are realized are in BA management’s favour.”

Union and management have locked horns over pay and staffing levels for BA’s
12,000 cabin crew.

Derek Simpson now wants the negotiations to be in front of the cameras. “Let
the world see what this is all about,” he said. “If people could see what he (Walsh)
is doing, they would know who to blame.”

Mr Simpson might be embarrassed by the cameras if there is a repeat of the loud-
mouthed protesters who interrupted delicate union-management negotiations in support
of the cabin crew last week. Even an angry union leader had to shout them down,
telling them that if in fact they supported the cabin crew they would leave the
building immediately. Their behaviour certainly did not help the union’s cause
— certainly not with the public who witnessed their skin-head behaviour.

According to BA more flights were planned in the coming days during the industrial
action because more cabin crews were reporting for duty. On the Internet, in the
meantime, BA is advertising round-trip fares to London as low as $296 return.

Now this is what has been happening here in New Providence.

A BA Boeing 767, which can accommodate 189 passengers, arrived at Lynden Pindling
airport on Wednesday with only the flight deck on board — three persons. There
were no passengers, although, we understand, the aircraft was fully catered for
passengers. It arrived at its 3.25pm scheduled time Wednesday, and left, again
on schedule, at 9.40 the same evening. This is what we have confirmed.

We tried to find out why the company would waste so much fuel flying both ways
empty, rather than remaining at Heathrow. The person asked was not certain, but
presumed that it was a slotting problem at Heathrow airport. In other words an
aircraft has a parking time slot, which it has to vacate when its time is up.
We were not able to confirm this report.

And why was an empty aircraft fully catered for non-existent passengers? Again
the person did not know, but believed it was something to do with union agreements
that an aircraft cannot get airborne unless it is fully catered. Again this report
has not been confirmed.

And what happened to the food? We understand it had to be dumped in Nassau. The
rules say food cannot be given to the poor after a certain number of hours. Again
the dumping of the food is an unconfirmed report.

However, what is confirmed is that BA flew its Boeing to Nassau again on schedule

It was empty. It returned to London with a handful of passengers. The same thing
happened on Saturday — the Boeing arrived empty and left empty.

There was a repeat performance yesterday, Sunday, except that it left with a
few passengers. The same is expected to happen again tomorrow.

Not only is BA losing financially, but just imagine the number of passengers
who are not arriving in the Bahamas.

It is now a matter of who blinks first before there is an end to this test of


There are a large number of comments, some of which are interesting.   A few confirm
that there are some empty flights.   Others imply these are few, and that some
of the planes are carrying freight….. Some appear to be from people involved
in the strike, and some totally opposed to it.   So a mixed bag  …..



see also


from the earlier BA strike in March

British Airways accused of using ‘ghost flights’ to beat strike

Telegraph     by David Millward.   21.3.2010