BA flying near empty airplanes, union claims - Wikimedia Commons - Waterside, BA HQ

Sources working for BA told TechEye that despite claims from the company that it is operating 80 percent of flights during the strike of cabin crew, some flights are empty, or near to empty..

The BA employee spoke under conditions of anonymity, because if BA staff speak to the press without authorisation they face instant dismissal.

BA, in a statement on its corporate website, says that the strike is costing £7 million a day. "During the final strike period we have planned for an increased flying programme as more crew ignore the strike and report for duty. We have announced that we are planning to fly about 80 percent of our longhaul programme including all JFK services and also all South African flights as we approach the World Cup."

But that's contradicted by BASSA, the division of Unite that represents BA cabin crew.

A representative told TechEye: "We have people working on the tarmac in various roles who are reporting flights going on 747 aircraft with less than 30 passengers."

She said: "Willie Walsh is telling the press that he is flying 80 percent of the operation with his 'army' of volunteers. That I can assure you is not true. Many of the volunteers do not want to fly at all but are being coerced into doing it."

She continued: "When the final offer was made to BA by the union, Walsh said that it was still £10,000,000 short of the required savings needed from cabin crew. To date the strike has cost £140,000,000 [using] BA's own figure of £7,000,000 a day."

Willie Walsh, BA's CEO, has branded the strike a failure and claimed it had flown 72,000 people yesterday.

The BASSA representative said: "There are all sorts of claims and counter claims being made by both sides, but you can be sure that the airline is NOT getting away 80% of its flights or its passengers. At the very best, very few passengers, are enjoying a very inadequate service." She claimed that the England World Cup soccer team flew to South Africa on Virgin, rather than BA.