Friday, 25 November 2011

Public sector strike to create major disruption at Heathrow

The COO of Heathrow Airport has warned airlines that public sector strikes on Wednesday could caused potential 'gridlock'.

Norman Boivan has written a letter to all airlines which says: "The delays at immigration are likely to be so long that passengers could not be safely accommodated within the terminals and would need to be held on arriving aircraft. This in turn would quickly create gridlock at the airport with no available aircraft parking stands, mass cancellations or departing aircraft and diversions outside the UK for arriving aircraft. Modelling of the impacts of strike action on passenger flows at Heathrow show that there are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers."

In order to relieve the potential strain on the airport, Boivan has asked airlines to half capacity of international flights as immigration staffing levels are likely to be between 30-50% and that most staff would have no experience and little training. One of the main problems is that during previous strikes, border agency managers continued in their role and worked, however these employees are also expected to strike on Wednesday.

An additional major worry is nearly 100 long-haul services are due to arrive  at Heathrow before 9.00am on Wednesday. In light of the potential disruption BA have allowed to switch flights free of charge and Virgin Atlantic have also allowed passengers to change flights four days either side of 30th November.

What do you think about the strike and pensions issue?

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