Catering dispute talks as BA flights resume

Talks in an attempt to resolve an industrial dispute that had sparked the chaos which stranded 70,000 passengers at Heathrow, are expected to resume today.

The sacking of around 670 workers at in-flight meals company Gate Gourmet led to sympathy action by BA baggage handlers.

The action led to severe disruption at London Heathrow, but BA today said that they "expected British Airways services into and out of London Heathrow continue to return to normal following the unofficial industrial action taken by some of the airline's staff and employees at the catering supplier at London Heathrow, Gate Gourmet."

Short haul flights should return to normal on Monday, and BA said that plans to operate 100 per cent of flights were in place.

A spokesperson for BA said: "This return to normal for UK and European flights is a day earlier than originally envisaged.

"The long haul operation is also returning to normal with plans to operate over 95 per cent of flights for the next couple of days.

We apologise unreservedly to our customers. This is an unprecedented situation. We are doing everything we can to help our customers and have drafted in additional staff from around the airline to assist."

BA have emphasised that other flights operating out of Gatwick and UK regions are operating as normal.

Passengers intending to travel either to or from Heathrow have been advised to check details of their flights, but BA said that all flights are planned to operate unless specifically shown as 'cancelled' on Arrivals and Departures information.

Flights on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday were disrupted and passengers without a confirmed booking and still wish to travel on BA should contact British Airways in the UK on 0800 727 800, as should those whose flights have been cancelled. In the USA or Canada contact BA on 1-800-AIRWAYS, their local British Airways offices worldwide or their travel agent.

According to BA all their flights in and out of Heathrow continue to have "very limited onboard catering" due to the industrial dispute at Gate Gourmet.

The spokesperson for BA said: "Arrangements have been made for limited catering to be provided on the ground prior to departure. Customers are strongly advised to eat before leaving for the airport or to allow extra time at the airport to eat.

"We apologise to those customers who are affected by this action but, regrettably, this is a situation beyond our control."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

12 August 2005
Talks to begin over Heathrow catering row
Talks are set to begin in an attempt to resolve the industrial dispute, which has led to the cancellation of flights and the stranding of over 70,000 passengers at London’s Heathrow airport.
11 August 2005
BA suspends check-ins as catering dispute escalates
British Airways has been forced to suspend all check-ins at London’s Heathrow Airport, after staff walked out in support of sacked catering staff. The company at the centre of the row, Gate Gourmet, have reportedly now sacked 800 workers since the dispute began on Wednesday.
22 March 2010
Day Three Of BA Strike
British Airways cabin crew have entered their third day of stoppage over pay and working conditions. Disgruntled union members will leave the picket line at midnight, but are prepared to return on Saturday for a further four days of industrial action.
10 August 2006
Airport chaos as police foil terror plot
Airports across Britain are facing major delays, following the disruption of a terrorist plot to blow up flights travelling between UK and the US. It is believed that the plot involved plans to smuggle explosives aboard several airliners with the intention of detonating the device mid-flight.
08 August 2006
More protesters board plane at Prestwick
Five more protesters have been arrested at Prestwick airport after boarding an aircraft in the third security breach at the airport in three days.