British airways, plane, terminal

Pilots working for British Airways began a strike Monday that grounded nearly all of the airline’s flights and impacted thousands of passengers around the world.

According to Reuters.com, British Airways canceled 1,700 flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports Monday and Tuesday as a result of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) members taking action due to a dispute over pay.

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Officials from British Airways said it had offered its pilots an 11.5 percent pay raise over three years, but the BALPA is fighting to include profit-sharing in the next contract. BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said the union was willing to compromise, but the carrier would not budge.

“I am really sorry that the cynical actions of the pilots’ union have put us in his position,” British Airways CEO Alex Cruz told BBC. “It is by all accounts an own goal; it’s going to punish customers, it’s going to punish our brand, it’s going to punish the rest of the colleagues.”

The BALPA made a last-second offer to British Airways before Monday’s strike began, but the airline said it was an “eleventh hour inflated proposal.” Union representatives said they would have called off the strike if the carrier “had engaged with the offer.”

BALPA officials said another day of industrial action is scheduled for September 27 unless a deal can be worked out.

The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is reminding impacted passengers they are eligible for reimbursement for canceled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions or a new flight at a later date.