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BA counts cost of pilots' industrial action

British Airways parent IAG has put the cost of the UK flag carrier's pilot strike, and other threatened industrial action at London Heathrow, at €170 million ($186 million).

It attributes the majority of this – some €137 million – to the strike by cockpit crews which were planned for 9, 10 and 27 September.

BA initially cancelled over 4,500 flights but reinstated nearly 2,200.

IAG adds that the carrier introduced "flexible" commercial policies, for refunds or rebooking, on another 4,070 flight not affected directly by the industrial action.

"There have been no further talks between British Airways and [pilot union] BALPA," says IAG.

The parent company has also warned that booking trends with its budget operators Vueling and Level are likely to have an adverse impact of €45 million.

These combined elements have prompted IAG to review its full-year forecast. It expects its operating profit, before exceptionals, to be €215 million lower than the pro-forma figure of €3.48 billion achieved in the previous year.

It had originally expected operating profit to be "in line" with the reported €3.23 billion for 2018 when it released its outlook at the beginning of this year.

"Clearly any further industrial action will additionally impact IAG's full-year 2019 operating profit," adds the company.

Passenger unit revenue is expected to be slightly down at constant currency, compared with its previous "flat" guidance, while non-fuel unit costs are still expected to improve at constant currency.

Capacity growth for the year will be down, at about 4% rather than the 5% forecast, with the fourth-quarter level at 2% rather than the estimated 3.2%.

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