British Airways says it was forced to cancel nearly 100 per cent of flights for Monday and Tuesday after the British pilots union went ahead with a strike.

The strike was called for by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) amid a heated dispute over pay with the airline.

BALPA said Sunday on Twitter that it put forward a proposal to the carriers management Wednesday, but had yet to receive a reply.

British Airways said in a statement posted Monday it remains ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA.

The airline said it was forced to cancel so many flights because with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly.

Customers who had flights booked for Monday and Tuesday will likely not be able to travel as planned, British Airways said. The airline also advised customers not to go to the airport.

Members of the pilots union voted 93% in favor of a strike in July. BALPA said last week that it would be willing to call it off if British Airways returned to the negotiating table.