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BA cancels flights ahead of pilots strikes

The Aviation Industry Regulator has ordered British Airways to explain its cancellation policy after concerns were raised about the airline avoiding compensation pay-outs for passengers. 
 
The news comes after BA imposed early cancellation for flights likely to be affected by next month's pilot strikes. By cancelling the flights more than two weeks ahead of the planned strikes, BA is not required under EU rules to compensate their customers for any inconvenience. 
 
Instead, the airline only has to provide a refund to customers so that they can make other travel arrangements. 
 
The cancellations have sparked anger and confusion among BA passengers which led the Civial Aviation Authority to intervene.
 
Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Richard Stephenson, said: "We have been in contact with the airline to determine what has happened and are seeking an explanation to confirm how it complied with its re-routing obligations to consumers."
 
He added: "Passengers who have seen their flights cancelled should be offered the choice of reimbursement for cancelled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions at the earliest opportunity which includes flights on other airlines, or a new flight at a later date at the passenger's convenience. 
 
"We also expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are cancelled."
 
BA has commented on the cancellations and said they wanted to give customers as much notice as possible. 
 
In a statement they said: "We appreciate the frustration and inconvenience that this strike action has caused our customers and our teams are working tirelessly to help them." 
 
They added: "Our teams are providing customers whose flights have been cancelled with options to seek a full refund or rebook, including to a different date of travel, or flying with an alternative airline."
 
Following the cancellations, the airline has brought in almost 100 additional employees to deal with the complaints from customers and to try and chase refunds and rebook flights. 
 
It has also emerged that rival airlines will benefit from BA's mishap as tickets for flights on the days of the strike have gone up sharply in price as a result of the cancellations.
 
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