With public sector workers due to strike in the UK on Wednesday, Airports and Airlines will try to minimise disruption.
Heathrow will be affected as border control staff walk out over pensions. With limited staff to man the borders, the flow of people through security and passport control at Heathrow will be restricted. While the airport will seek as much staff as possible, the queues at the airport may be very large.
Similar strikes in July 2011 did not result in as much chaos as was anticipated, as fewer staff than expected went on strike. However airlines and airports must assume the worst.
The airports are requesting that airlines fly fewer passengers – a tough ask of an industry currently struggling to profit in the current economic climate. Airlines are offering for passengers who wish not to fly, the opportunity to re-book on other dates. It’s recommended that you contact your airline to keep informed on the status of your flights and your eligibility for re-booking. If you intend to travel, expect long delays and ensure you’re early for your flight.
In a letter to airlines, Heathrow suggests that delays could be as long as 12 hours, and passengers may need to be held on board aircraft as they could not safely be accommodated in the airport.
Heathrow plan to run every flight, but request to run with flights at 50% of normal load.
Airlines are also asked to make plans to divert flights to outside of the UK.
The overall impact of the strikes won’t be known fully until Wednesday.