BA resumes scheduled flights

British Airways services are gradually returning to normal schedule. BA plans to operate 100 pct of shorthaul flights and about 95 pct of its longhaul programme from London Heathrow airport. The company is resuming its usual flights after the workers’ strike, which paralyzed almost the whole airport and stopped its customary work for three days.

A spokesman for BA said that all short haul flights and 95 percent of long haul flights were back to normal Monday.

Flights would be completely back to normal "in a few days," a spokeswoman told CNN.

Airline sources said that 100 percent of long haul flights had operated as normal Sunday but some planes were still out of position Monday.

There was still "minimal" catering on board BA flights, said the spokeswoman. Passengers were being provided with some refreshment at stations in the terminals and vouchers were being offered.

However, flights will continue to have limited catering provisions onboard due to the ongoing industrial dispute at Gate Gourmet, BA's sole catering supplier at Heathrow.

The return to normal for UK and European flights Monday is a day earlier than originally envisaged.

The BA ground-crew strike, which ended Friday, was triggered by a dispute between catering staff and the U.S.-owned firm Gate Gourmet, which provides onboard meals for British Airways flights, CNN reminds.

BA services into and out of London Heathrow were badly disrupted after unofficial industrial action taken by some of the airline's staff over dismissals at Gate Gourmet.

Said British Airways on its Web site: "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."

Flights operating out of Gatwick and UK regions were operating as normal.

While the 1,000 BA ground-crew staff returned to work Friday, the catering workers were still striking and talks were expected to resume Monday to resolve the dispute. Gate Gourmet, which is undertaking restructuring amid financial losses, is owned by U.S. company Texas Pacific Group.

The srtrikers walked out in sympathy with over 600 fellow T&G members at Gate Gourmet, who were sacked on Wednesday by its American management following a long-running dispute over restructuring and pay, Forbes reports.

BA has not yet put a figure on the cost of the dispute. However, on Friday analysts at Merrill Lynch, the airline's house broker, told clients that closing network for a day would imply a loss of around 23 mln stg, mitigated somewhat by limiting the closure to Heathrow.

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