Qatar Airways had spare planes to lend to its partner, British Airways, because of laptop restrictions in the U.S. and its squabble with its Middle Eastern neighbors. It's all helping British Airways beat back a cabin crew strike at London Heathrow.
IAG SA’s British Airways is riding out a 16-day walkout by London Heathrow-based cabin crews with the help of planes from top shareholder Qatar Airways Ltd.
Aircraft from its Persian Gulf partner have been deployed on British Airways’ short-haul routes, allowing the U.K. carrier to operate almost all flights as normal on Monday, the first working day since the strike began Saturday. Long-haul services from Heathrow airport have been combined to avoid cancellations, the airline said by email. All customers will reach their destinations, with just four flights scrapped over the weekend, it said.
The work stoppage is the culmination of a wage dispute that started in January. The dispute so far has resulted in 26 days of walkouts, according to the Unite union, which said BA has punished participating employees by scrapping certain benefits. The strike is resuming five weeks after a high-profile computer-system failure grounded flights for 75,000 British Airways passengers.
State-owned Qatar Airways, which holds about 20 percent of IAG, is operating flights for British Airways with nine single-aisle Airbus SE A320 and A321 aircraft.
The Qatari carrier said last month that excess jets from canceled Middle Eastern services are being redeployed to other destinations, including Iran, following a ban on its flights by four Arab countries amid a political conflict.
The airline said it was “successfully mitigating” the effect of losing access to 18 regional destinations.
–With assistance from Deena Kamel Yousef
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
Photo credit: British Airways is beating back a cabin crew strike with the help of spare planes furnished by equity partner Qatar Airways. Luke MacGregor / Bloomberg