LONDON Dec 16 Pilots at Virgin Atlantic voted
on Friday to work to rule from Dec. 23 in a dispute over sole
recognition of their union, the latest round of industrial
action to threaten Christmas holiday air travel.
British Airways cabin crew voted on Wednesday to strike this
month while baggage handlers will be walking out for two days
from next Friday.
Over half of Virgin Atlantic's around 900 pilots are
represented by the Professional Pilots' Union (PPU).
The PPU said in a statement the ballot turnout was
80.3 percent, with 88.6 percent voting in favour of industrial
"The action will see a removal of 'pilot goodwill' with
pilots who are members of the PPU working strictly to their
contract," it said.
"It is possible that this may leave some flights not covered
for the duration of any action, which has the potential to
continue indefinitely," it added.
The airline, 51 percent-owned by billionaire founder Richard
Branson and 49 percent-owned by U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines
, primarily flies transatlantic routes.
"We expect our flying programme to remain unaffected during
this period and want to reassure our customers that all flights
are operating as normal," it said in a statement.
"We are disappointed with the result of the ballot to take
Action Short of a Strike, which essentially means 'work to
The action by Virgin pilots comes after thousands of cabin
crew working for British Airways on Wednesday voted
overwhelmingly in favour of striking in a pay dispute, with
walk-outs due after Dec. 21.
In addition, the Unite union said over 1,500 check-in staff,
baggage handlers and cargo crew at airports across Britain will
walk out for 48 hours from Friday Dec. 23 in a long-running pay
A long-running dispute between German airline Lufthansa
and its pilots has already cost the German airline
hundreds of millions of euros since early 2014.
(Reporting by Stephen Addison; additional reporting by Sarah
Young; editing by Andy Bruce)