Strikes by firefighters and security staff that would have closed Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and other airports on Monday have been called off, but the first ever strike at Virgin Atlantic appears set to go ahead on Wednesday.


Unions and airport operator BAA will negotiate company plans to close a final-salary pension scheme following an agreement on New Year’s Eve, with officials calling off a 24-hour stoppage on January 7.


A deal will be put to staff representatives. Walkouts remain scheduled on January 14 and 17-18, but are unlikely to take place unless there is a breakdown.


However, Virgin Atlantic appears ready to tough out a strike over pay by cabin crew. Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson wrote to staff over Christmas saying: “More pay than Virgin Atlantic can afford may be critical to your lifestyle. If that is the case, you should consider working elsewhere.”


A spokesman for the airline said: “No talks are planned. There will be no change to the offer. We will run nine out of 10 flights and contacted all the affected passengers before Christmas.”


Cabin crew have rejected a two-year pay deal worth 8.3%, despite it being recommended by union officials, arguing they want parity with British Airways’ staff. They plan to strike on January 9-10 and 16-17, when the airline said it would cancel three flights a day.