British airline on verge of striking; US flights could be affected

The airline has offered its pilots a 4 percent raise this year and 3 percent in each of the following two years, but McAuslan said that was not enough because it had been three years since his members last had a pay increase.

"The 4 percent does not reflect the fact that pilots have not had a rise since 2008, and the proposed 3 percent increases would mean that with inflation running at 5 percent and likely to remain high, pilots would, if they accepted these increases, be in effect voting themselves years of wage cuts," he said.

"We do not want a dispute but to date there has been no meaningful movement by the company," McAuslan continued. "Virgin's pilots feel very angry and disappointed at the way they are being treated after their sacrifices in 2008, 2009 and last year. The company is asking us to effectively sign up to 5 years of cuts in pay. We are not prepared to do that. We do not want a strike and have tried every way to avoid it. We regret this, but are resolute in our aim of fairness."

This post was corrected from an earlier version at 2:31 p.m.