British Airways passengers suffered further disruption on Wednesday due to the knock-on effect of a two-day strike by pilots.

The airline cancelled at least 71 Heathrow flights and 18 Gatwick flights as almost half of its fleet and more than 700 pilots started the day out of position.

Most of the passengers affected were due to fly on domestic or European routes, although long-haul flights from destinations such as the US, India and Pakistan were also cancelled.

BA planned to operate more than 90% of its flights on Wednesday following the grounding of most of its aircraft during the strike on Monday and Tuesday.

More than 4,000 cabin crew have had disruption to their rosters, and in many cases will be unable to operate again for several days due to legal rest requirements.

Every flight movement also has to factor in detailed planning, including engineering checks, maintenance, catering, fuelling, baggage loading, cargo and cleaning.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) went on strike in a dispute over pay, with a further 24-hour walkout planned for September 27 if the row remains unresolved.

A BA spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the disruption Balpa’s industrial action has caused our customers. We are working hard to get back to normal and to get our customers to their destinations.

“The nature of our highly complex, global operation means that it will take some time to get back to a completely normal flight schedule – however, we plan to fly more than 90% of our flights today.”