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A British Airways plane taxis at Heathrow airport as BA cabin crew stage the final day of their three day strike.
Getty Images / Oli Scarff A British Airways plane taxis at Heathrow airport as BA cabin crew stage the final day of their three day strike.

British Airways will lease extra aircraft and crew from other airlines to counter the impact of a new four-day strike by cabin staff next weekend, it said on Tuesday.

BA said it will run a full operation from London Gatwick and London City airports, and maintain 55 per cent of scheduled short-haul flights and 70 per cent of long-haul ones from London Heathrow for the new strike starting Saturday.

The loss-making airline said it was encouraged by staff response during an initial three-day strike which ended Monday.

"The biggest contingency plan in our history went extremely well last weekend with large numbers of cabin crew reporting for work as normal," said BA chief executive Willie Walsh.

The airline will lease up to 11 aircraft with pilots and crews each day from six different airlines based in Britain and Europe during the second strike, which comes in the build-up to the busy Easter weekend holiday period.

"As a result of the numbers of crew wanting to work, we are increasing significantly our flying schedule and will be operating a full schedule at Gatwick and London City airports," said Walsh.

The dispute centres on attempts by loss-making BA to downgrade its employees' pay and perks packages, which are among the most lucrative in the industry.

BA and the Unite union - which represents its 12,000 cabin crew - disputed the strike's impact last weekend.

The airline claimed it had held up well, but Unite said fewer than 20 per cent of crew had turned up for work.