BORDER FORCE strikes at Heathrow appear so far to be having little impact on the airport’s arrivals and departures.
A spokesperson for the airport told City A.M. this morning that despite a walkout by staff, “operations continue to run smoothly and the airport is operating as normal. The Immigration halls are free flowing with Border Force and the military contingency providing a good level of service for arriving passengers.”
Airlines are likely to spend an additional £57.9m in fuel due to the ongoing Border Force strikes, according to City A.M. calculations.
Border Force staff attached to the union PCS working at several UK airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, are walking out from today to Boxing Day as well as between 28 and 31 December over salaries.
Industry sources have told GB News that long-haul pilots at British Airways were instructed to get fuel for an additional hour as they wait in the skies to avoid overcrowding airports.
It is understood that more carriers will follow suit.
The contingency plans were described by sources as “essential but extremely costly” and a “huge setback” for an industry that is slowly returning to profitability.
Heathrow strikes to cost
“This is the very last thing airlines need as they try to rebuild their businesses after Covid,” a source told the outlet.
Insiders say that adding an extra hour worth of fuel could cost around £6,500 per flight and – as City A.M. understands that 8,910 flights are scheduled to land – this will lead to a total cost of £57.9m.
Separately, disruption at Eurostar’s London St Pancras terminal has been avoided as security staff contracted by facility manager Mitie have called off a strike planned for the Christmas period.
Over 100 members of the union RMT have cancelled their walkout following an improved pay offer of over 10 per cent, which will lead to a 30 per cent uplift for workers on lower salaries.
This is also in addition to guaranteed hours on permanent shift patterns and Mitie’s pledge to ensure employees have a review before any decision on whether sick pay is payable is made.