Pilots for British Airways have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay after a 90 per cent turn-out for the ballot, and the airline has lost a High Court bid for an injunction against the strike.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said 93 per cent of those who voted were in favour of a strike, though dates for such action have not yet been set. However, the union has previously said walk-outs could begin as soon as 5 August.

BALPA held the ballot after talks with BA failed. Pilots had earlier rejected a pay offer from the airline worth 11.5 per cent over three years, while the carrier refused counter-offers from the union.

On Tuesday, BA attempted an injunction at the High Court, but the judge ruled against the carrier.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: “While we’re pleased with the judge’s decision, we’re frustrated that time has been wasted. BA could have spent this time coming back to the negotiating table instead of trying – and failing – to tie us up in legal knots. This delay will now continue with BA seeking to appeal against the Hight Court’s decision. As a result it’s now likely the talks scheduled with ACAS on Friday will have to be postponed.”

Strutton added: “This strong result demonstrates the resolve of British Airways pilots and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted. Sadly, three days of ACAS talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.

“We do not wish to inconvenience our customers, which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”

The union said it will announce any dates for strike action in due course.

BA said that as no dates have been confirmed, its flight schedule will go ahead as planned until further notice. In a statement, the airline added: “We’re pursuing every avenue to find a solution to protect your travel plans and we urge BALPA to return to talks as soon as possible.”

British passengers, particularly those in London, face a summer of disruption, with staff at both Heathrow and Gatwick threatening walk-outs. Ryanair pilots are also considering industrial action.

Stornoway, Benbecula and Dundee airports in Scotland have been closed today (23 July) due to strike action by air traffic controllers in a dispute over pay.

A strike planned by check-in staff on the Easyjet contract at Stansted has been suspended after Stobart Aviation Services tabled a new pay offer.

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