British Airways cancels 300 flights due to strike by security staff

Holidaymakers face Easter getaway chaos: British Airways cancels 300 flights due to 10-day strike by security staff at Heathrow as airport announces ‘contingency plans’ to keep delays to a minimum

  • Heathrow said it was deploying 1,000 additional staff to help with strike delays  
  • British Airways has cancelled more than 300 flights to cut passenger numbers
  • Read more: Hell for holidaymakers as security guards confirm they will strike 

Heathrow will deploy 1,000 additional staff and its entire management team to try and stop strike delays causing travel chaos over Easter. 

More than 1,400 members of the Unite union will walk out on Friday in a dispute over pay and will not return to work until Sunday April 9, despite a pay rise offer of 10 per cent from the airport. 

Holidaymakers face severe disruption to their getaway plans if flying from Terminal 5, although the airport has said delays will be ‘well managed’. 

British Airways has cancelled 16 return short-haul flights for each day of the strike – more than 300 flights in total – to reduce passenger numbers.  

The strikes are the latest in a series of blows for those seeking the sun over the spring break, as more than 1,000 Passport Office workers also plan to participate in a five-week strike from Easter.  

Heathrow will deploy 1,000 extra staff during the 10-day strike, including the airport’s management team, to try and reduce delays (file image) 

The airport strike comes as panicked Brits race to renew their passports amid fears of delays as more than 1,000 Passport Office workers plan to participate in a five-week strike from Easter (File image)

A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘We will not let these unnecessary strikes impact the hard-earned holidays of our passengers.

‘Our contingency plans will keep the airport operating as normal throughout.

‘We are deploying 1,000 additional colleagues and the entire management team, who will be in the terminals providing assistance to passengers over the busy Easter getaway.

‘As at any busy time, it may take a little longer than usual to get through security, but this will be well-managed and kept flowing.

‘Passengers can help us ensure they get the best start to their journeys by checking their flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport, arriving at Heathrow no earlier than two hours before short-haul flights and three hours before long-haul flights, and by being ready for security with their compliant liquids and electronics out of their hand luggage.’

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A BA spokesperson said: ‘Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers travelling during the period of its employees’ proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule. Our teams are continuing to work closely with Heathrow to ensure that our customers’ journeys run smoothly.’

While other flight carriers will also be affected, BA uses Terminal Five, where the strikes are mainly located, exclusively. 

Passengers will be able to check in their hand luggage free of charge to help ease security queues. 

Most of those affected by the cancellation should be able to travel within 24 hours of their original flight.  

Other staff on strike work in campus security, checking luggage from all terminals, which could cause delays on other flights. 

Other flight companies have also been asked by the airport to reduce ticket sales, despite the strikes coming at one of the busiest travel periods of the year. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said previously that:  ‘Workers at Heathrow Airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries. 

‘It is the airport’s workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.

‘Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need not greed,’ said Ms Graham.

‘Unite has a laser-like focus on prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and HAL needs to be in no doubt that the workers at the airport will receive the union’s unstinting support.’

Similarly, more than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union will take part in the walk-out from April 3 to May 5 in a massive escalation of a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.  

It is feared the industrial action will have a ‘significant impact’ on the delivery of passports, further straining a system already struggling with a Covid backlog. 

It usually takes about 10 weeks to renew a passport, but last year tens of thousands of people had to wait even longer due to the volume of applications after Covid travel restrictions were lifted. 

Fast-track services are available but they are much more expensive.  

The planned industrial action comes after around 133,000 civil servants across the UK walked out this week in what was largest day of strikes thus far this year.

Britain has been brought to a standstill numerous times over the past year due to rail strikes and continued failed talks with unions.

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