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Backpacking travelers warned over threat of BA Christmas strike

People set to embark on backpacking holidays over the Christmas period have been urged to plan carefully after British Airways' (BA) staff moved closer to strike action.

Earlier this week, the airline announced plans to cut 1,700 full-time cabin crew positions at Heathrow Airport and implement a two-year pay freeze throughout its workforce.

Unite, the union which represent BA workers, is set to attend talks with airline representatives on 14th October 2009 but has said that it is "preparing for an industrial action ballot".

The likelihood of a strike raises the possibility that Christmas flights provided by the airline, which serves many popular backpacking destinations including Sydney, Bangkok and Tokyo, will be affected.

Andrew Clarke, advisor on air transport policy at the European Regions Airline Association, said that a rapid fall in passenger numbers over the last year has forced many carriers to consider job cuts.

He said that the current circumstances for the industry "remain the worst we have experienced in the post-war era".

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