Many UK holidaymakers travel across the Atlantic to popular holiday destinations such as Florida and New York every year, New York alone gets over 43 million visitors a year. This number may be significantly decreased if the current pilot strikes continue spread to America.
The issue in question is that UK flights company British Airways have suffered from strikes since they announced plans for a subsidiary airline, Open Skies. Open Skies is a new venture BA have planned which will operate to popular city locations such as New York, Brussels and Paris.
However American company American Airlines has a partnership with BA but despite this they have said they support the pilot’s union one hundred percent and so if the UK pilots strike then American pilots who would normally work the flights to and from the UK would likely strike too.
This would be devastating to the lucrative transatlantic flights business which has just seen a record earning period over the final quarter of 2007; this was mainly down to the surge of bargain hunters hoping to hit the stores of New York to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate.
Whilst it is projected that only 12,000 American Airlines pilots would potentially take action it is feared that the bug may spread to other US airline companies. Last week 86 percent of British Airways pilots agreed to strike action. With 68 percent of transatlantic flights being either AA or BA it would mean that the majority of flights to the USA would be grounded.
For now flights are unaffected but if you have booked to go away later in the year it would be advisable to keep an eye on proceedings as you may need to re-arrange your flight.