Talks aimed at resolving the long-running British Airways dispute are to resume later today, as cabin crew continued their five-day walkout, with more action threatened unless the deadlocked row is broken.
The airline said it will meet leaders of Unite in another attempt to agree a deal to head off further strikes in the coming weeks.
Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite, admitted it will "not be easy" to reach a settlement, given the level of animosity between the sides.
He addressed a rally of strikers near Heathrow airport today before returning to central London for the talks, which raise a glimmer of hope that the bitter dispute could be resolved.
As news of the talks was revealed, BA said it will be increasing its flying schedule during the next five-day strike, due to start on Sunday, a day after the current walkouts are due to end.
The airline said more cabin crew than expected had decided to work as normal during this week's industrial action, and it was contacting customers to give them as much notice as possible about their travel plans.
BA said it will be increasing its Heathrow long-haul schedule to more than 70% of flights (up from more than 60% this week), and its shorthaul schedule from the airport to more than 55% of flights (up from more than 50% this week). The airline said it will continue to fly to every short-haul destination on its network.
"Due to the numbers of crew wanting to work normally at Gatwick, all flights will continue to operate as scheduled during the very busy half-term break as families fly out to many popular holiday destinations. Flights at London City airport will also operate as normal.
"At this stage British Airways expects to fly more than 75% of customers who hold a booking between May 30 and June 3. This equates to around 65,000 customers flying each day.
"Many thousands more will be able to use seats we have secured on more than 50 other airlines to reach their destination, if they still wish to travel or be rebooked on to an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days.
"Refunds are also available for customers whose flights have been cancelled.
"The airline will continue to lease up to eight aircraft from other UK or European airlines to supplement its short-haul schedule at Heathrow," said BA.Reuse content