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BA rejects Aito’s criticism over ash cloud payments

British Airways has hit back at Aito’s comments slamming the airline for not refunding operators for looking after customers during the ash cloud crisis.

A spokeswoman for the airline said it was “disappointed” to read the comments while adding the crisis cost the airline £100 million “when the aviation industry is facing its most difficult period in its history.”

She added the airline worked “tirelessly” to get British airspace reopened and pointed out that the airline’s chief executive Willie Walsh was on the first flight by a commercial airliner to collect data on the ash cloud.

The spokeswoman said affected customers were allowed to get full refunds or rebook other flights while paying for hotel accommodation and reasonable costs for its many stranded customers.

“We sell seats to the travel trade at discounted rates, which tour operators then package with additional services and onward sell to their customers at prices they determine,” she added.

“Whilst we are happy to return the cost of the flight to the trade’s clients, by their very nature, travel trade companies also have a relationship of their own with their customers and obligations of their own to those customers.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to say that we were overwhelmed with positive feedback from the trade about the way we handled the ash crisis.

“We continue to thank them for the support they have given us over recent times.”

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