UK Border Force strike: Which airports are affected?

Some passengers’ Christmas travel plans may be ‘severely disrupted’

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Thursday 29 December 2022 09:15 GMT
<p>The industrial action will begin on 23 December </p>

The industrial action will begin on 23 December

Border Force staff are set to go on strike over the Christmas period, affecting some of the UK’s biggest airports.

The strikes have been announced by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, due to an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions.

This action may affect many people’s Christmas travel plans, with a threat looming of both long airport queues and flight cancellations.

“Like so many workers, our members are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. They are desperate,” PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said.

He added: “They are being told there is no money for them, while they watch ministers giving out government contracts worth billions of pounds to their mates.”

But which airports will be affected and when will the UK Border Force strike happen?

Which airports are affected by the UK Border Force strike?

Workers who would usually be on hand to do passport checks and help with arriving travellers are set to strike at six airports: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow.

When will the Border Force strike happen?

The strike is planned to start on 23 December and will last until the end of the year, with the exception of 27 December only.

What will the knock-on effect of the strikes be to passengers?

Potential scenarios include long queues for passport control. This in turn means passengers may face a delay when disembarking their plane, so they could be held on the aircraft for longer.

“Arriving passengers should also be prepared for much longer immigration queues on strike days, owing to reduced Border Force staffing levels,” said a spokesperson for Manchester Airport.

Cancellations of both arrivals and departures are being considered too, and some incoming flights could be re-timed, to minimise these delays.

How many passengers could this industrial action affect?

It is thought that nearly two million passengers are booked to fly into the affected airports during the strikes.

On 23 December, passengers arriving into Heathrow airport will experience a major impact to operations. Statistics from the flight data specialist Cirium estimate 583 flights are due to land on the first day of the strike, with 126,700 seats booked in total.

Additionally, over 50 intercontinental flights are scheduled to arrive at Heathrow before 7am each day.

Immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, has warned: “Passengers should be prepared for their plans to be severely disrupted.”

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