Budget airline group BMI is to meet the pilot union planning to ballot members on a pay strike.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) claims members at BMI would vote on industrial action for this month if disputes between the company and pilots were not resolved.

Any action would hit airports on the bank holiday weekend.

The row centres on opposition to the imposition of a 2.4 per cent pay rise.

Other areas of conflict include plans to increase pension contributions from ten to 18.5 per cent, which Balpa said would be the highest in the aviation industry.

Nigel Turner, BMI's chief executive, said: "The aviation industry faces challenging issues, especially highlighted by the events of the last two weeks.

"It is important that we work together to take the business forward.

"We will approach the concerns raised by BALPA constructively and I look forward to meeting with the union's representatives."

In April, BMI posted a huge jump in annual profits.

The carrier, headquartered near Nottingham East Midlands Airport, said 2005 pretax profits came in at £10 million, a 284.6 per cent rise.