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Airlines accused of selling more tickets than available seats on flights - YAHOO FINANCE

JULY 22, 2022

The competition and aviation regulators have warned airlines they will face enforcement action if they do not minimise flight disruptions and obey the rules regarding compensation.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have issued a joint letter to carriers, expressing concern that “consumers could experience significant harm unless airlines meet their obligations”.

The letter stated: “We are concerned that some airlines may not be doing everything they could to avoid engaging in one or more harmful practices.”

These include selling more tickets for flights “than they can reasonably expect to supply”, not always “fully satisfying obligations” to offer flights on alternative airlines to passengers affected by cancellations, and failing to give consumers “sufficiently clear and upfront information about their rights”.

The warning comes at a time of widespread disruption at airports caused by staff shortages, including long queues and cancelled flights, as the industry struggles to keep up with a surge in demand.

Both regulators warned they would consider enforcement action if they saw evidence of "consumers continuing to experience these serious problems".

“Images of queuing families, social media posts full of horror stories of people left stranded or getting cancellation emails on their way to the airport just hours before they were due to depart have left a bitter taste. The CMA has warned that any repeat this summer could force them to take action," Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said.

“The level of service that’s been provided when disruption occurs and the fact many people have been left to fend for themselves, often at great expense. It has warned airlines that they need to think ahead and to take responsibility for customers who might not have the cash or the ability to get themselves where they need to go.

“Compensation must be paid quickly, and arbitrary limits shouldn’t be set on levels of compensation, plus travellers need to be kept well informed of cancellation policy and not find themselves struggling to pore over the small print.

“It’s about transparency and boosting confidence, both things which are in airlines best interests.

The CMA and CAA said they expect airlines to “not continue marketing tickets for flights if they cannot be reasonably confident they will go ahead”.

After a flight is cancelled, airlines unable to offer a “timely replacement” flight must give passengers the option of flying with another carrier, according to the letter.

But some companies ask passengers to make their own arrangements in these circumstances.

The letter stated: “We have concerns that in some cases, this is likely to breach professional diligence standards for those consumers who are not in a position to do so.

“For example, those who may be unable to: investigate or book alternative routes; self-fund the purchase of flight tickets and accommodation; or to afford to wait for reimbursement, would not be able to benefit from their statutory rights in the event of flight cancellation.

“We urge airlines operating this practice to quickly put in place mechanisms for these consumers to ensure re-routing is a viable option for them.”

The CMA and CAA also said passengers’ rights must be “presented clearly”, and consumers “should not be required to hunt for such information”.

Last month, the UK government temporarily relaxed rules around airport slots to allow airlines to devise realistic flight schedules.

UK officials warned government not to pursue Rwanda deportation plan, court told - REUTERS

JULY 22, 2022

By 

  • Government says plan is needed to smash people smuggling
  • Case will decide if full judicial review should be held
  • Rwanda says misconceptions about how would treat migrants

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - British officials repeatedly warned the government not to pursue its plan to send migrants to Rwanda and the country was initially excluded from the shortlist of partner countries because of human rights concerns, London's High Court was told on Tuesday.

Under an agreement struck in April, Britain will send tens of thousands of migrants who arrive on its shores illegally more than 4,000 miles (6,4000 km) to the East African country.

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The first planned deportation flight last month was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights. read more

The government has vowed to press ahead with the plan, but the policy is facing a judicial review at the High Court where its lawfulness is being challenged.

Lawyers acting for asylum seekers from countries including Syria, Sudan, and Iraq, as well as charities and Border Force staff, have been sent thousands of documents detailing internal government discussions about the policy.

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In February last year, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda said in a memo that Rwanda should be not selected as a place to send migrants for a variety of reasons including that the East African country had been accused of "recruiting refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries", according to written evidence submitted to the court.

The memo also said that Rwanda "has a poor human rights record regardless of the conventions it has signed up to" and has been criticised by Britain for "extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture".

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Another internal government memo from April 12, a day before the deal with Rwanda was signed, said the agreement was "unenforceable, consisting in part of upfront payments, meaning fraud risk is very high".

'HUMAN RIGHTS'

Officials in the Foreign Office also cautioned that if Rwanda were to be selected, "we would need to be prepared to constrain UK positions on Rwanda’s human rights record, and to absorb resulting criticism from UK Parliament and NGOs".

Yolande Makolo, a spokeswoman for the Rwandan government, has criticised what she called misconceptions about the way migrants would be treated in the country. The Rwandan government is not party to the hearing.

"Rwanda is a safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers," a British government spokesperson said. "We remain committed to delivering this policy to break the business model of criminal gangs and save lives."

The government argues the deportation policy will smash the business model of people-smuggling networks after a record 28,500 people crossed the English Channel in small boats last year.

However, a report by parliament's Home Affairs Committee on Monday said there was no clear evidence the Rwanda plan would deter migrants.

"The government’s Rwanda plan is a total mess," Yvette Cooper, the home affairs spokesperson for the opposition Labour Party, said.

"Today's revelations show that ministers knew the policy was unenforceable, would be at very high fraud risk and would undermine UK foreign policy and our ability to raise the issue of Rwanda’s human rights record."

Tuesday's hearing was being held to decide when a full judicial review should begin, with the court due to give its decision on Wednesday.

As Aero, Dana Air Succumb to Rising Cost of Operations - THISDAY

JULY 24, 2022

The reality of the prevailing dire situation in the Nigerian aviation sector, which manifested in the withdrawal of services by Aero Contractors last week and the suspension of Dana Air operation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, over its poor financial status, is an indication that unless aviation authorities act swiftly, the fate that befell the two airlines may soon catch up with others, writes Chinedu Eze 

On Monday, the management of Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline, announced that it would suspend scheduled flight operations due to a hostile operating environment and on Wednesday,  it was the turn of Dana Air to cease operation no thanks to the directive from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ground their service as a fallout of the prohibitive cost of aviation fuel.

The suspension of scheduled flight services by the 61-year-old Aero Contractors due to the high cost of operations could be described as the augury of what is to come in an industry stretched thin by an acute shortage of foreign exchange, high cost of aviation fuel, an exodus of personnel that are moving to more lucrative markets and a hostile environment characterised by dilapidated airport facilities and lack of critical infrastructure.

This is evidenced by the action taken by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Wednesday. It suspended the operating licence of Dana Air because if the airline is allowed to operate it could jeopardise lives in an accident, as experts note that air safety could be threatened if an airline loses its robust finance to effectively carry out maintenance of aircraft in its fleet, remunerate its workforce as at when due and abide by other financial obligations.

In a statement announcing the suspension of Dana Air’s operations, NCAA said, “The suspension was made pursuant to Section 35(2), 3(b) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 1.3.3.3(a)(1) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.

“The decision is the outcome of a financial and economic health audit carried out on the Airline by the Authority, and the findings of an investigation conducted on the airline’s flight operations recently, which revealed that Dana Airlines is no longer in a position to meet its financial obligations and to conduct safe flight operations,” the statement said.

This is the precarious situation Nigerian airlines are facing, high cost of aviation fuel, high exchange rate and the depreciation of the naira. These are unpretentious threats to their existence, but industry sources said the first casualties might be the airlines with very limited capacity. Nigeria has about eight domestic airlines in operation with about 43 aircraft but a significant number are not in active service. Many of them operate an average of three aircraft, except Overland Airways, Ibom Air and Air Peace, which has the highest capacity in Nigeria.

Genesis of Aero’s Predicament

But the warning signs that Aero might not go the whole hog came about two months ago when it was stripped of its fleet, leaving two ageing aircraft: a Boeing 737 and a Bombardier Dash 8 and totally cash strapped as it was battling huge debts estimated at over N50 billion.

Aero Contractors management in a statement on Monday said, “Due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited. wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger services operations with effect from Wednesday, July 20, 2022. 

“This does not in any way affect the maintenance activities of the Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) otherwise known as AeroMRO, the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) also known as Aero Training School, the Helicopter and Charter Services operations.

“This decision was carefully considered and taken because most of our aircraft are currently undergoing maintenance, resulting in our inability to offer a seamless and efficient service to our esteemed customers. We are working to bring these aircraft back to service in the next few weeks, so we can continue to offer our passengers the safe, efficient, and reliable services that Aero Contractors is known for, which is the hallmark of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd,” the airline said.

It also explained that the past few months have been very challenging for the aviation industry and the airline operators in particular with the high cost of maintenance, skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, and forex scarcity resulting in high foreign exchange rates, adding that these are amongst the major components of airline operations.

Earlier Signs 

Aero Contractors had been walking on a thin line between survival and extinction due to huge debts incurred by the former management when it acquired old aircraft at a highly inflated cost. The former Oceanic Bank supplied it with fiscal oxygen to sustain its operation until when it was absorbed by Ecobank Transnational Incorporation in October 2011.

THISDAY learnt that the airline’s bad situation was exacerbated by the high cost of aviation fuel, which price has continued to spiral, threatening the operations of other domestic carriers. With its financial inanities exposed, the airline suffered hiccups and became moribund until the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) came to its rescue.

A former senior official of the airline and now the Managing Director/ CEO of 7 Star Global Hangar Nigeria Limited, Isaac Balami, told THISDAY that AMCON tried to rescue Aero Contractors when it took it over. It injected billions of naira into the airline and Arik Air, but after some time the agency felt it would not continue to inject funds into the airline, recalling that during that period the federal government and the then Minister of Aviation were worried and wanted to safeguard the jobs of the personnel and that explained why it continued to operate till the recent shut down; although there were times it stopped operation temporarily before it was revived in 2017.

“But now all the airlines are struggling. Nigerian airlines are trying but the problem is the high cost of aviation fuel. Aero management is wise enough to know when to stop; realising that because of the high cost of Jet A1 and high cost of forex, they have to shut down so that when they come back people can trust them,” Balami said.

Debts

The airline, which had provided shuttle service for the oil and gas industry for decades and extended its service to scheduled flight operations since 2000 was burdened by huge debts.

THISDAY investigations revealed that the economic recession occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown and protracted low season after December heavy passenger traffic demand culminated in the financial drought of the airline.

Before this announcement by the management, the airline was finding it difficult to fuel its existing fleet

Two months ago, the management of the airline confirmed to THISDAY the precarious state of the airline and identified factors that led to the debilitating condition of the indigenous carrier and pointed out that the Aero could stop operation at any time because the management was finding it increasingly difficult to keep the aircraft in the airspace.

Industry in Distress 

The high cost of aviation fuel, which is a global problem, is stripping Nigerian airlines of operational cash. It also pushed up airfares, forcing some potential travellers to keep away from the airports and use the roads, despite security threats. With a N50,000 base fare, airlines charge as high as N80,000 for a one-way flight. This has forced passenger traffic to drop on domestic air travel and has put the airlines in a quandary. The airlines do not have a choice but to pass some of the cost of aviation fuel to travellers. 

Even at that, THISDAY learnt that some airlines might also suspend flight operations as their financial resources continue to deplete without recompense. 

Last Tuesday, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) frowned at the decision of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to close the domestic runway at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos to install airfield lighting and argued that closing the runway, known as Runway 18L, for three months would cost the airlines billions of Naira in fuel burn, as aircraft trudge from the international runway to the domestic terminals, which could take about 30 minutes.

Crisis 

Industry expert and former Commandant of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Captain John Ojikutu told THISDAY that the problem of Aero did not start today but started about 2010 when the British technical partners were allegedly sidelined and the management came under single management of the Ibru family. 

Ojikutu explained that two years later Aero went into debt under the management of AMCON with limited knowledge in commercial aviation, adding that single management killed Arik Air alongside Aero and the defunct Okada Air, Kabo, Nigeria Airways Limited, which was a national carrier and others.

“Fuel prices have been irregularly increased almost monthly despite what the government called subsidies to fuel marketers. Within a year, it has quadrupled from N200/ltr to N800/ltr. 1.3 million barrels per day is what we are being told that are exported out of a production of 2.3 million barrels produced per day; what happens to the balance of one million barrels?” he asked.

The aviation industry has been tamed and frightened. Many observers note that unless the situation improves, more airlines may shut down their services.

Virgin Atlantic Seeking 200 More Pilots to Ramp Up Capacity - BLOOMBERG

JULY 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. is seeking 200 pilots to help operate its flying schedule starting next summer, even as the European air-transport industry remains in the grip of a staffing shortage.

The U.K. carrier plans to hire first officers across both its Airbus SE and Boeing Co. fleets, according to a statement Friday. About 100 pilots will be needed for summer 2023, followed by 60 in 2024 and a further 40 the year after that.

Virgin is recruiting pilots after all those placed in a pool at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and passed an interview returned or agreed start dates. The company says it’s a more attractive employer than other airlines due to the attractions of its long-haul routes, with 10,000 people applying for 800 cabin-crew and 45 pilot posts in an earlier hiring push.

Would-be recruits must have a minimum 1,500 flying hours on relevant aircraft, including 200 in the past 12 months.

The move comes as airlines across the world rush to take on workers after scaling back as travel ground to a halt during the coronavirus crisis. European transport chaos this summer is due to a shortage of 1.2 million workers across the EU, the World Travel & Tourism Council said this week. 

Dubai-based Emirates said separately it will add a third daily flight from London’s Gatwick airport from July 27 through Aug. 3 to help accommodate passengers affected by capacity curbs at the UK capital’s Heathrow hub. The extra trips will be operated by Boeing Co. 777 aircraft after Gatwick was able to secure sufficient ground-handling resources.

Emirates will operate six daily flights to Heathrow during the period, while services to London Stansted will resume from Aug. 1 as planned with five weekly connections, going daily from September.

(Updates with other staff shortage statistics in fifth paragraph)

South Africa to ‘Open Floodgates’ for Private Power Generation - BLOOMBERG

JULY 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa plans to try and resolve its chronic power shortage by making it easier for private companies to build plants and paying households and businesses to produce electricity from solar panels.

The urgent need to fix the country’s 14-year electricity crisis has been laid bare by five weeks of power outages that ended last week, the worst since the near-collapse of the grid in 2008. President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress have been heavily criticized over their inability to resolve the problem, despite repeated promises to do so.

We need to “open the floodgates for private investment in new generation capacity,” the presidency said in a presentation to opposition parties on Monday that has been seen by Bloomberg. “Our overriding priority is to add as much new capacity to the grid as possible, as quickly as possible.”

With South Africa’s national power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., saddled with 396 billion rand ($24 billion) of debt and unable to meet demand from its fleet of aging and poorly maintained coal-fired plants, the country is turning toward renewables and the private sector for power provision. That’s met an ideological backlash from powerful interests within the ANC that want greater state control of the industry. 

Ramaphosa has said he will publicly announce a plan to tackle the crisis in coming days. Calls to his spokesman Vincent Magwenya weren’t immediately answered.

News 24 reported on the presentation earlier.

In addition to seeking power from private sources, the government also wants to resolve some of the issues plaguing Eskom, such as the need to repair broken units, the presidency said. The company can reliably produce about 26,000 megawatts at present, against a winter peak of 32,000 megawatts.

The presidency’s plans would add 7,165 megawatts of capacity within three months, a further 5,663 megawatts in a year and 9,770 megawatts in 18 months, meaning that the amount of available generation capacity could almost double. 

Those gains would come from Eskom units returned from outages, demand management, new generation capacity, private investment, power from solar panels on rooftops and the completion of the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power plants. Beyond 18 months, there is scope to see a further 8,700 megawatts of new generation capacity procured, the presidency said. 

The need for investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure and “credible, confidence-boosting measures” is also part of the plan, to “assure South Africans that significant actions are being taken to address the crisis.”

The main points are as follows: 

  • Boost the recruitment of skilled workers at Eskom and address sabotage and theft at the utility
  • Improve logistics to ensure that diesel-fired turbines are supplied in timely fashion
  • Allow Eskom to buy excess power from private producers
  • Import more power from countries in the region
  • Implement a program to incentivize the efficient use of power to cut demand by 600 megawatts
  • Easing local content requirements so that renewable-power projects awarded in the so-called Bid Window 5 can go ahead
  • Boosting the size of the sixth bid window and expediting further rounds
  • Announce a plan to deal with Eskom’s debt before October

“Cabinet has decided to establish a National Energy Crisis Committee, which will involve all relevant ministers, departments and agencies, with a technical team chaired by the director general in the presidency,” the plan said. 

JUST IN: FG Orders Closure Of FGC Kwali, Beefs Up Security In Unity Colleges - DAILY TRUST

JULY 25, 2022

The Federal Ministry of Education has ordered the immediate closure of one of its colleges, the Federal Government College Kwali, located in Kwali Area...

The Federal Ministry of Education has ordered the immediate closure of one of its colleges, the Federal Government College Kwali, located in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

A statement signed by the Director Press and Public Relations, Ben. Bem Goong, said Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, gave the directive in the early hours of Monday.

He said the closure became necessary following security breach on Sheda and Lambata Villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council which also threatened FGC Kwali.

According to the Minister, the timely intervention of security Agencies saved the situation.

The minister also directed that arrangements should be made for final-year students to conclude their NECO examinations.

He, however, directed Principals of Unity Colleges across the country to liaise with security Agencies within their jurisdictions in order to forestall any security breach in our schools.

Daily Trust had reported how parents trooped to the school to evacuate their children on Monday morning.

FAA Halts Flights Into Dallas Love Field Airport After Reports of Shooting - BLOOMBERG

JULY 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- The US Federal Aviation Administration halted flights into Dallas Love Field after reports of a shooting at the airport near the city’s downtown.

The Dallas police also confirmed the shooting report on its Twitter account. The FAA posted the closure on its website, citing “security” for the block on arriving flights.

One person has been transported to an area hospital, according to a report from NBC 5.

Southwest Airlines Co., which operates at the airport, said on Twitter it was aware of police activity at the airport and had paused departing and arriving flights.

Lufthansa Travel Turmoil Set to Worsen With Ground Staff Strike - BLOOMBERG

JULY 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s ground-crew union called a strike for Wednesday, escalating a crisis at Europe’s biggest airline after staffing shortages caused thousands of flights to be cancelled earlier in the summer.

The Verdi labor group called for members to take part in industrial action at Lufthansa’s German airport bases, a move that could see check-in personnel and other staff walk out over pay and conditions.

“Verdi is calling the one-day strike to raise pressure on the employer to make a much-improved and acceptable pay offer in the next round of talks,” the union said in a statement on Monday.

The move is likely to worsen the plight facing Lufthansa as it battles to cope with the twin demands of a sharp rebound in travel bookings and the impact of soaring inflation on pay packets. Passengers at airlines and airports across Europe have endured weeks of disruption as chronic worker shortages lead to delays and cancellations.

While Lufthansa had so-far avoided the industrial action snaring rivals like Ryanair Holdings Plc, its unions are starting to round on the airline’s management. Members of Lufthansa’s VC pilots union are holding a vote on whether to go on strike, a move that would inevitably lead to a further cut to scheduled flights.

Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr has pledged to boost earnings before interest and taxes to a minimum of 8% by 2024, a move he said is needed to reduce debt. Disputes with worker representatives suggest Spohr might have trouble reaching those targets, as he tries to balance the need for more staff with his desire for lower costs.

Still, the airline earlier this month said it returned to profitability in the second quarter, benefiting from surging travel demand that’s forced the sector to raise fares and limit seat availability.

Mixed reactions over airlines’ 40% fuel surcharge bid, further fare hike - THE GUARDIAN

JULY 25, 2022

By Wole Oyebade


Aviation stakeholders have reacted with boo and cheers at local airlines’ request to impose a new fuel tax of between 25 and 40 per cent on air travellers.

While a section of the industry agreed with operators that the surcharge is inevitable, others flayed the operating environment and urged them to look inwards for cost-saving measures instead of imposing additional burden on the travelling public.

Airlines, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), this week had urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to grant waiver on its current five per cent surcharge on aviation fuel and grant operators the right to impose a new fuel tax of between 25 to 45 per cent to cope with the rising commodity cost.

President of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), a think-tank group of the local sector, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, said the sector remains deregulated. Hence, operators should sell airfares in line with the prevailing market realities.

Olowo added that to do otherwise is to encourage “cutting corners to save cost”, which would be very dangerous for all.

He said: “Given these uncontrollable factors of production in the airline industry and operators selling what they buy, demand will definitely drop, but much better than cutting corners and planning an accident.

“If a trip fuel is 4000 litres for a one-hour Lagos-Abuja jet flight, for example at N800 per Iitre, which gives N3, 200, 000. At a load factor of 100 passengers, it means fuel cost per person is N32, 000. That is approximately 30 per cent of total cost. Therefore, it will translate to N107, 000 tariff for a one-way journey. Period.”

By comparison, Olowo noted that PHCN has introduced Premium Tariff on power and those who can afford it are settling for it. He added that the aviation sector would not be different.

He warned that: “This is not the time for frivolous and reckless competition nor uneconomic patriotism. Operators should intensify cooperation, collaboration, consolidation, prune schedules to minimise perishable seats and maximise load factor.

“The spirit of Spring Alliance must be strengthened. The sector must not negotiate an accident. The NCAA is encouraged to be more vigilant to watch cutting corners,” Olowo said.

Former Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Samuel Caulcrick, urged the airlines to consider alternatives to this “runaway situation.”

Caulcrick said: “Now is the time to shelve, maybe temporarily, the legacy airline model and embrace the Low-Cost Carrier model.

“Weight has an influencing component on operational costs of air travel. The airlines should lower the baggage limit to 5kg and charge any extra in consonant to fuel costs. Nigerians need to adjust their lifestyle of carrying their houses on an aeroplane while travelling. If it’s that important to move everything we have by air, we should pay for the Jet A1,” Caulcrick offered.

Aviation Security consultant, Group Capt John Ojikutu (rtd), recalled that the steady rise in fuel prices dated back to 12 or 15 years when the culture of importing Jet A1 started.

Unfortunately, “Prices have been irregularly increased almost monthly in spite of what the government called subsidies to the fuel marketers. Within a year, it has quadrupled from N200/litre to N800/litre. 1.3 million barrels per day is what we are being told that are exported out of a production of 2.3 million barrels produced per day; what happened to the balance of one million barrels? Those in NNPC, Federation Account Committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should explain. NNPC should explain why four refineries are not working?”

British Airways pilots poised to launch strike action - THE TELEGRAPH

JULY 25, 2022

British Airways pilots are clamouring for a ballot on strike action after airline chiefs rejected demands for a new pay deal.

Under growing pressure from members, the pilots union Balpa is preparing to threaten industrial action after a wave of ballots secured wage increases for check-in and baggage staff.

A walkout could come as soon as this summer in further blow for thousands of holidaymakers who have already endured waves of cancelled flights, as well as traffic jams at Dover.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle was warned during a meeting with pilot representatives last Tuesday that “only quantifiable actions… would be acceptable”, according to an email to its members last week seen by the Telegraph. “This did not occur," the email said.

British Airways pilots agreed to sacrifice a portion of their salaries to mitigate job losses in a pay deal agreed in July 2020. They accepted temporary pay cuts of 20pc, falling to 8pc over the following two years, allowing job cuts to be reduced from 1,255 to 270.

Pilots want a pay increase rather than a pay cut. Union sources said that there are increasing calls for a vote on strike action after witnessing the success of the Unite and GMB unions.

Ground handling crew halted planned industrial action last week after winning an 8pc pay rise. Meanwhile, staff working for refuelling companies that service rival aircraft have been offered a 10pc wage increase.

A union source said: “They did it by stomping their feet and having a ballot on strike action.

"'BA seems to ignore you until you issue a ballot,’ is the sentiment among members. Within Balpa we don’t usually like to do that. We would rather take a grown-up approach. But we are under enormous pressure. And the longer this goes on, the harder it gets.”

Tom Keeney, a veteran BT executive, was parachuted in earlier this month to lead talks on behalf of British Airways. He was hired in a new role entitled director of industrial relations.

Talks continued today after Balpa wrote to airline chiefs reasserting that the salary sacrifice scheme had to be abandoned.

Martin Chalk, Balpa general secretary, said: “We are in talks with British Airways and wish to persuade them that continuing deductions from our members’ pay is unwarranted. We should actually be talking about pay increases given the inflationary scenario.

“Unless BA is prepared to walk with us down that road then we will have to consult with members to consider our next actions.”

A spokesman for British Airways said: "We remain committed to continuing talks with the union."

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