* Departure times for some flights have been shifted by up to four and a half hours
At the end of the most disrupted week for UK air passengers since the 2010 volcanic ash crisis, thousands of travellers on Thomas Cook Airlines have had their flights for Saturday rescheduled.
The British Airline Pilots' Association, Balpa, has confirmed that a strike will go ahead “over a failure to agree a pay and conditions deal”, following unsuccessful talks at the conciliation service, Acas.
Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “Our argument is not with passengers. We need Thomas Cook to understand just how resolute pilots are and how frustrated they are with the company.
“We urge the company to come back to the negotiating table with a better offer so this situation can come to an end.”
Yet the pilots’ strike will have far less impact than Ryanair’s shortage of flight crew, which has caused the cancellation of up to 50 flights a day.
Thomas Cook says all passengers will be flown to their destinations, though departure times for some flights have been shifted by up to four-and-a-half hours. It is telling travellers: “Our priority is to make sure all of our customers can still fly on holiday and back home with us and we are pleased to confirm that all of our flights on 23 September will operate.”
Most flights will be crewed by non-striking pilots and management, with five chartered aircraft bought in, including a plane from Condor — Thomas Cook’s German airline operation.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Balpa has decided to go ahead with the strike on Saturday. Thomas Cook management has put forward an increased offer in recent days and remains open to negotiating further.
“We urge Balpa to come back to the table to resolve this issue in the interests of all involved.”
The pilots’ union has also announced two further 24-hour strike days on 29 September and 6 October, unless an agreement can be reached before then.