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Marketplace

Pilots hope to ground BA

Stephen Beard Feb 28, 2008
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Doug Krizner: Pilots for British Airways are angry with their company over plans for a new low-cost trans-Atlantic subsidiary. Now this dispute could lead to the first pilot’s strike at BA in 30 years. Now they’re getting support from fellow aviators at American Airlines. Stephen Beard has more from London.


Stephen Beard: British Airways pilots have voted overwhelmingly to strike. They’re protesting over the airline’s plan to set up a separate division flying from continental Europe to New York. The pilots believe that BA will cut pay and benefits for staff working on the new services.

A major American union is throwing its weight behind the protest. The APA represents 12,000 pilots on American Airlines.

Keith Bill of the British pilots’ union welcomes the American backing:

Keith Bill: Well, the British airline pilots are absolutely delighted to get this support. They’ve had calls of support from around the world now, and this is particularly welcome because the problem facing BA pilots is a problem facing pilots in every country in the world.

He claims that American Airlines set up its Eagle subsidiary in the States in order to cut pilots’ pay.

If American and BA are grounded, that could shut down two-thirds of the flights between the U.S. and London’s Heathrow. Talks to avert strike action at British Airways begin on Monday.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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