British Airways has vowed to keep fans flying to the World Cup in South Africa through the latest strike action by cabin crew.


The latest five-day walkout by members of the Unite union started on Saturday and runs until Wednesday, just two days prior to the tournament kick-off.


The airline pledged to run its full schedule of 26 departures a week to South Africa as thousands fans fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town from London Heathrow.


In the absence of any breakthrough in the long running dispute over cabin crew pay and working conditions, the union has warned of a further ballot for more industrial action next month.


Unite said that the strike had cost BA £119 million before the start of the latest walkout.


BA said its Heathrow long haul schedule will increase to more than 80 per cent of flights – up from more than 70% last week and 60% in the first strike period. The entire Heathrow-New York JFK schedule will operate, according to the airline.


The short haul schedule from Heathrow is up to 60 per cent of flights – up from more than 55 per cent last week and more than 50 per cent during the first strike. The airline has leased up to eight aircraft from other airlines to supplement its Heathrow short haul schedule.


More than 65,000 passengers will fly each day as BA expects to handle more than 75 per cent of those holding bookings between June 5 and June 9.


BA Gatwick and London City Airport flights remain unaffected by the dispute.