British Airways pilots call off second strike to avoid 'irreparable damage'

British Airways pilots scrapped a planned one-day walkout scheduled for later this month to pursue “meaningful new discussions” as the union sought to end a deadlock over wages.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association said it was calling off the September 27 action “before the dispute escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand,” and demanded the carrier negotiate seriously to end the dispute.

Last week, British Airways began offering full refunds or re-booking on alternate days or airlines for passengers scheduled to fly on the strike day.

British Airways was forced to scrap almost all of its scheduled flights during the previous two-day walkout starting September 9, amounting to more than 3 200 departures and arrivals. The airline put the cost of the action at about 40m pounds (R729m) a day.

The strike was BA’s first involving pilots since 1979 and upset travel plans for close to 200 000 customers at the tail end of the busy summer season.

The union said it would announce new strike dates, should the carrier refuse to negotiate. British Airways said it was considering the implications of the move and would give an update in due course.

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