TAMPA — Flights to London over at least two days have been grounded, following a pilot strike for higher pay that forced British Airways to cancel nearly all of its flights.
In total, roughly 195,000 passengers’ travel plans have been upended, including those who planned to fly to or from Tampa International Airport and London on Monday or Tuesday.
The last British Airways flight took off around 6 p.m. Sunday from Tampa and landed in London the following morning.
“We’re not sure yet when they will resume,” said Tampa airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps.
The strike affects at least two arriving and two departing flights between TIA and Gatwick Airport, all nonstop, according to Nipps.
“After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this,” British Airways said in a statement.
British Airways offers direct daily flights between Tampa International and London. The only other carrier with nonstop flights to London from Tampa is Norwegian Airlines. And it only offers them on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Pilot union members in Britain said on Monday they would not return to work for 48 hours. That means the strike is likely to be over by Wednesday. but the pilots have said they have another planned for Sept. 27.
“The company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff,” the union’s general secretary Brian Strutton said in a statement.
Affected passengers can get information about how to reschedule travel plans at the British Airways website. The airline is offering full refunds or re-booking options with an alternative airline. It asks those with canceled flights not to report to the airport.