Gridlocked Heathrow if airlines don’t fly half capacity next week
November 25th, 2011 by elisa

A strike next week by boarder officials at Heathrow could grind the airport to a halt unless airlines fly at half capacity. BAA is holding talks with airlines to ask if they will do this, however nothing has been confirmed so far.

Virgin Atlantic and BA said passengers booked on inbound flights on Wednesday could rebook or switch flights for free. BMI said it planned to operate as normal, while Cathay Pacific urged its passengers to postpone and rebook their flights.

In a letter to all airlines operating into Heathrow, chief operating officer Norman Boivin said: “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.”

The immigration officials are striking over pensions.

“This union hasn’t taken industrial action at all in its 28-year history. This is something our members feel deeply and desperately strongly about, but nonetheless it’s no-one’s wish to disrupt the border, or to cause chaos to the travelling public. It’s the only way we have left to get the government to hear us.” said Lucy Morton, deputy general of the Immigration Services Union.






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