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Facing strike, British Airways drops some NY flights

British Airways jets grounded at Heathrow Airport in

British Airways jets grounded at Heathrow Airport in London as a strike began. (March 19, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

British Airways said Friday that a strike scheduled to begin Saturday morning will force it to cancel three of five flights from London's Heathrow Airport to Kennedy Airport on Saturday and others in both directions Sunday and Monday.

Operations at Newark Liberty Airport are unaffected, said British Airways spokesman John Lampl in New York.

Canceled incoming flights from  Heathrow into Kennedy are Saturday's BA177 and BA179 and Sunday's BA117, BA177 and BA183, the airline said.

Canceled outgoing flights on Sunday from Kennedy o Heathrow are BA178, BA174 and BA176, the airline said.

The affected flights into and out of New York are among more than 1,000 being canceled because of the planned three-day cabin crew strike.

Lampl said the airline has been contacting passengers to rebook them. "Our intention is to put everyone on another British Airways flight, or they can rebook with no penalty . . . or get a full refund. Or we will try to put them on other carriers."

Major competitors offering service from New York to London include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways and, from Newark, Continental Airlines.

Generally, this time of year is one of light passenger traffic, Lampl said, making it easier to accommodate passengers.

At Austin Travel in Melville, marketing manager Gail Lacertosa said the agency had gotten notice three days ago that there would be cancellations and said all of its customers had been rebooked. "As of right now, everything seems to be fine," she said Friday.

The Associated Press reported Friday from London that last-ditch talks between the airline's management and union leaders collapsed but quoted airline officials as saying they hoped to operate about 65 percent of their international schedule during the three-day period.

The union is protesting a pay freeze and changes to working conditions, the AP said. A total of 1,100 flights out of the 1,950 flights scheduled to operate during the walkout will be canceled.

With Jessica Damiano

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