Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

British Airways Rides Out 16-Day Cabin Strike With Qatar Planes

  • Biggest shareholder flies nine A320-series planes for BA
  • Flight attendants’ pay walkout has no effect on schedule

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 by Deena Kamel

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