By Kenneth Ehigiator
LAGOSâ€”As the second round five-day strike of British Airwaysâ€™ cabin crew sets off tomorrow, the airline has again assured Nigerian travellers from Lagos and Abuja to London Heathrow that their flights would not be affected by it.
Unite, the cabin crewâ€™s union, is expected to begin a strike tomorrow till 9 June, to press home their demands for better pay and conditions of service.
But British Airways Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, said in a statementasked passengers not to panic about the strike.
According to him, the increase in the flight schedule is made possible by the increasing number of cabin crew staff who want to work during the strike.
â€œBritish Airwaysâ€™ services from the international airports in Lagos and Abuja to and from Heathrow Terminal 5 will remain unaffected by the strikes.
â€œWe have increased our Heathrow longhaul schedule to more than 80% of flights and will increase Heathrow shorthaul schedule to 60% of flights, both figures an improvement on the two previous strike periods,â€ Walsh said.
He also reassured its customers that British Aiwaysâ€™ flight at Gatwick, UKâ€™s second busiest airport, will remain unaffected by the industrial action due to the number of cabin crew ignoring Uniteâ€™s strike calls.
He said the airline would also fly its full schedule of 26 departures a week to South Africa with thousands of fans due to fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town from Heathrow Terminal 5 ahead of the World Cup kick-off.
BA revealed that customers were being contacted to give them as much notice as possible about their specific travel plans between June 5 and June 9.
He said:Â â€œDuring this strike period, British Airways expects to fly more than 75% of customers who hold a booking between June 5 and June 9.Â This equates to more than 65,000 customers flying each day.â€
According to him, many thousands more will be able to use seats secured on more than 50 other airlines to reach their destination.
â€œCustomers can also be rebooked onto an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days and refunds are available for customers whose flights have been cancelled,â€ he added.
He disclosed that BA will continue to lease up to eight aircraft from other UK or European airlines to supplement its shorthaul schedule at Heathrow.