End in sight to long-running BA dispute: reports

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The long-running dispute between British Airways and its cabin crew appeared to be nearing an end on Thursday as members of the Unite trade union met to consider a new offer.

Several reports said Unite leaders were "content" with what has been negotiated in talks with the airline to end a standoff over pay and perks that began in 2009 and has led to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

If the union members meeting at London's Heathrow airport back the offer, a formal ballot of union members could be held within weeks with the result likely in July, ending any fears of disruption to BA flights this summer.

The dispute began over BA's cost cutting but a solution was delayed by a deep dispute over the loss of travel concessions for striking staff, leading to 22 days of strikes over the past 18 months.

The dispute cost British Airways 150 million pounds ($250 million, 170 million euros) in 2010.

Earlier this year, BA merged with Spanish carrier Iberia to create International Airlines Group. However, both groups retain their operations and individual brands.

The merger created Europe's second biggest airline by market value behind Lufthansa of Germany.

© 2011 AFP

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