British Airways will use Qatar Airways planes and crew to fly all its passengers to their destinations during a planned two-week strike by some cabin crew, Willie Walsh, head of BA’s parent company, said today.
The strike by BA’s mixed fleet cabin crew – those who work on both long and short-haul flights – is due to begin on Saturday.
BA had already applied to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to use nine Qatar-registered Airbus A320 or A321s between 1-16 July and Walsh, CEO of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), said the plan would go ahead.
“I’ll be pleased to say that those airplanes will fly and all of the British Airways passengers who are booked to fly with us over the next couple of weeks will be flying,” Walsh told reporters in Brussels.
Members of the mixed fleet crew are engaged in a long-running dispute with BA about pay. The forthcoming strike is over sanctions on union members involved in previous industrial action.
The deal could help Qatar make more use of its planes after its operations were disrupted by a boycott from four Arab nations.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on 5 June in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.
Qatar Airways owns a 20 per cent stake in BA parent International Airlines Group.