Posts Tagged ‘volcanic ash’

British Airways again trims flights as May 24 walkout looms; union wins appeal of court injunction

British Airways again trims flights as May 24 walkout looms; union wins appeal of court injunction

Volcanic ash plumes and a threatened walkout by cabin crew members have wreaked havoc with British Airways flight schedules over the last two months – and today is no exception.

British Airways once again is reducing its flight schedule and preparing for a strike after the union representing its cabin staff Thursday won an appeal in court to move forward with a work action against the carrier. The airline had obtained a court order four days ago to block a planned 20-day staggered strike that was slated to start Tuesday.

The airline estimates that the action would halt 40% of its long-haul flights and half of its short flights at Heathrow Airport, according to a statement. For example, the revised flight schedule for May 26 shows that four of six flights from New York’s JFK to Heathrow  have been canceled. The airline plans to operate flights in and out of London City and Gatwick airports on a normal schedule

Unite, a 2-million-member union representing the airline’s cabin personnel, set May 24 as the beginning date of a five-day walkout, saying the next few days would be a “pause for peace.” The airline had already been notified of a wave of five-day strikes starting May 30 and June 5 respectively, should there be no settlement. The union has not indicated whether the strike would be extended beyond June 9, according to its website.

“British Airways management now has a chance over the next three days to address our outstanding concerns and seize the possibility for industrial peace,” read a statement on Unite’s website.

British Airways expressed its disappointment with the ruling in a note titled “Cabin Crew Strike Update” at the top of the website. The airline noted that flights in and out of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports are currently operating normally, and that some flights previously canceled this week have been reinstated. The airline also posted a list of canceled flights by week through June 9 as well as information on how to rebook or file for a refund.

The New York Times reports that the union and airline management had reached an agreement on $87 million in cost savings, but the airline wouldn’t restore full travel benefits to about 4,000 workers who had walked out in March. The airline said it lost $64.5 million in the March work action, according to the report.

– Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Photo: A British Airways jet takes off at London’s Heathrow airport on a test flight last month to gauge the impact of volcanic ash on flight safety. Credit: Associated Press

By LA Times

Europe travel update: Airlines advice to fliers; more delays expected from ash plume

Europe travel update: Airlines advice to fliers; more delays expected from ash plume

Shifting clouds of volcanic ash shut airports and disrupted flights in Spain, Portugal and Italy this weekend, but all airports were open Monday after the concentration of ash dissipated overnight, according to updates from the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation.

Travelers should remain on alert and check frequently with their travel agents and airlines because an ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano, lingering over the North Atlantic, may cause delays in transatlantic flights that must be rerouted to avoid the cloud, the agency said.

“There is an area of ash cloud in the middle of the North Atlantic, which is impacting transatlantic flights,” the statement said. “While most of these flights are operating, many are having to make significant reroutings to avoid the area of ash cloud coverage, resulting in delays.” The agency, known as Eurocontrol, said it expects about 28,500 flights to operate Monday over Europe – about 500 fewer than normal. Eruptions from the volcano last month forced a five-day suspension of air traffic over Europe.

On Sunday, Italy’s airports in Pisa, Milan and Florence were shut, as well as airports in Portugal and Spain. Airlines are struggling to keep fliers updated with the latest information through postings on websites, Twitter and text messages and e-mails.

Below is what some airlines are advising passengers to do if their flights have been affected by the volcano; if you booked your flight through a travel agent, contact him or her to rebook or file for a refund.

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Airlines add flights, waive fees after ash plume briefly shuts airports in Ireland, Scotland

Airlines add flights, waive fees after ash plume briefly shuts airports in Ireland, Scotland

Air service has resumed after another volcanic ash cloud from Iceland on Tuesday wafted over Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, shutting airports for several hours and causing flight delays and cancellations. The shutdown occurred on the same day that European transportation ministers met in Brussels to discuss disruptions from Iceland’s spewing Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which shut airspace over Europe for six days in April and caused the cancellation of about 100,000 flights.

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