British Airways pilots go on strike in first for airline

British Airways pilots go on strike in first for airline
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British Airways pilots have gone on strike, leading the airline to cancel nearly all of its scheduled flights for Monday and Tuesday. 

The British Airline Pilots Association called the strike as the pilots, unhappy with an offer of an 11.5 percent salary increase over three years, continue to battle with their employer, CNN reports

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The first-time strike among the airline's pilots could cost the company about 40 million pounds, or $49.5 million dollars, BBC reports.

British Airways announced Monday it would be canceling nearly all its planned flights, as the company "had no way of predicting how many [pilots] would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly." 

"We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this," the airline said in the online statement to its passengers. 

British Airways said it remains "ready and willing" to talk with the pilots association. 

But British Airline Pilots Association General Secretary Brian Strutton told BBC the airline publicly says it will talk, but "in private they say they are not going to negotiate."

He told the BBC that British Airways has "lost the trust and confidence of pilots because of cost-cutting and the dumbing down of the brand" and criticized management for seeking to "squeeze every last penny out of customers and staff."

BBC reports the pilots are set to strike again on Sept. 27. 

British Airways said it is offering customers full refunds and options to rebook flights for another date or alternative airline.