Airport strikes off – for now

Airport Scene

UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Glasgow will operate as normal on 7 January as thousands of passengers return to the UK from holiday destinations overseas.

But people flying off for a winter sun or skiing holiday from BAA’s seven UK airports on 14, 17 and 18 of January will have to wait until this Friday before they find out whether the airport strikes pencilled in for these dates have also been cancelled.

The airport strike would have caused travel chaos on 7 January as airports including Heathrow and Gatwick would have been closed and flights cancelled. This could have left thousands of holidaymakers stranded abroad or holed up in airport hotels as they waited for flights to the UK.

Travel to airports and other airport services such as airport car parks would also have been hit by the strike on 7 January. But now there is a good chance that the other planned airport strikes on 14, 17 and 18 January will also be cancelled.

A spokesman for airport operator BAA said: “Following a productive discussion on 31 December, BAA and the trade unions have reached an agreement in principle. The trade unions will now consult their members on the proposed agreement and, to allow sufficient time for that, have agreed to call off the industrial action planned for 7 January 2008. BAA and the trade unions will meet again on Friday 4 January”.

But passengers who have booked flights from Heathrow to New York, Chicago, Boston and Nairobi with Virgin Atlantic are still likely to be affected by strike action by Virgin cabin crew on 9, 10, 16 and 17 January.

However, Virgin have said that after Sir Richard Branson wrote a letter to staff informing them that the company would not be able to improve on the proposed 8.3% pay deal over two years, a number of staff have contacted their managers to say they are prepared to work on the strike days to prevent flight cancellations.

Written by: Nick Purdom

 

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Airport Strikes Off – For Now