30 January, 2007:British Airways has reinstated its full flight schedule from Heathrow today after a planned cabin crew strike was called off at the last minute.
But with many passengers having already made alternative arrangements, flights are taking off with empty seats.
"Although we haven´t actually slashed prices, the lowest fares are still available because demand is fairly light. There are some quite good deals," said a BA spokesman.
She said it was too early to assess the impact of the strike threat.
The union representing cabin crew at British Airways called off a 48-hour strike planned for today and Wednesday and 72-hour walkouts next month.
The 11th-hour settlement was struck following three days of intensive negotiations but will have come too late to prevent the disruption of travel plans of thousands of passengers who have switched airlines or cancelled their trips.
The agreement involves the end of a two-tier pay structure and a deal on pensions, according to Transport & General Workers´ Union general secretary Tony Woodley. A 28-month pay deal is part of the agreement.
Woodley described the settlement as a "significant improvement" for cabin crew.
He said: "One thing is clear - this deal means our members regain respect from BA. We now have an ideal opportunity for cabin crew and this company to build a better working relationship and it must be grasped.
"This has been a very difficult negotiation," he added. "We have had to address a multitiude of problems that the company has allowed to build up over a number of years but that needed to be solved. I am pleased, therefore, that there has been significant movement by the company to resolve this dispute and address these issues.
"We now have a fairer system for managing sickness absence agreed. There have been major moves on pay to end the divisive, unfair two-tier workforce. we have a significant uplift in pensionable pay of 18.75% and an above inflation 4.6% wage rise effective immediately.
"These were the major issues of concern for our members and they have been dealt with through these negotiations. Their committee has taken the view that this package would not be improved in any shape or form, irrespective of strike action."
BA chief executive Willie Walsh described the deal as a "real step forward" with a satisfactory conclusion reached on all the major issues raised by the union.
He added in a statement: "We are pleased that our negotiations with the T&G have resulted in an agreement that removes the threat of strikes.
"We have always said that our cabin crew do an excellent job and we believe this agreement lays a firm foundation to enable us to provide even higher standards of onboard service for customers in the future.
"Unfortunately the decision has come too late to prevent disruption to the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers tomorrow and Wednesday.
"We will endeavour to reinstate as many flights as we can for those days. We will give more details later today."
Meanwhile, Bmi is maintaining 3,000 extra seats on domestic routes from Heathrow to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester throughout the week.
BA offers lowest fares to fill empty seats