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British Airways Flights from Heathrow Suspended Until Friday Night

British Airways has decided to cancel all of its fights in and out of London's Heathrow Airport at least through Friday night, because of a labor dispute at a catering firm that services its aircraft.

The airline was forced to cancel 106 of its domestic and overseas flights Thursday and it diverted a number of incoming flights to other airports. It took that action after about 1,000 British Airways ground crew went on a sympathy strike to show solidarity with the catering company employees.

The U.S.-based catering company, Gate Gourmet, fired hundreds of employees in a labor dispute Wednesday.

With the Thursday flight cancellations, about 20,000 frustrated British Airways passengers were stranded at Heathrow. The airline management apologized for inconveniencing passengers and gave many of them food and hotel vouchers.

BA flights are due to resume no earlier than 6 p.m. local time or 17 hours UTC Friday.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.