A British Airways (BA) director has angered cabin crew by implying a rise in absenteeism in summer is due to skiving.
Mike Street, BA's operations director, who was speaking at the company's annual meeting, said the rise in sick leave had forced the airline to charter other aircraft to keep passengers airborne.
He said BA were encouraging staff to move onto part-time contracts as part of a cost-cutting scheme, and part-timers tended to "take that extra day", especially around the time of Ascot, Henley and Wimbledon.
This comment caused resentment from cabin crew inside the auditorium, as well as those outside who were protesting about BA's compulsory retirement age of 55 for cabin staff.
The Times newspaper has reported that BA's directors are in talks with Iberia, the Spanish airline, over a possible merger, as Brussels moves closer to liberalising airline takeover rules.