The Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 Arrivals hall.
Roger Davies, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Arrivals to the UK warned to prepare for disruption at the border

LONDON – The UK government is making preparations ahead of Border Force strike action at the end of the week, including training military personnel to step in and keep our border safe.

Since strikes, due to begin on Friday 23 December, were announced by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, Border Force and the government have undertaken extensive planning to minimise the disruption this action will cause.

Thousands of people, including civil servants and military personnel are ready to support Border Force over this period, many of whom are sacrificing their Christmases to ensure passenger’s travel plans are protected and they get to where they want to be this Christmas.

The government has also been working closely with ports, airports and the travel industry to understand the impact of strike action, to minimise delays for passengers and ensure the flow of goods through the border.

While the government is taking action to minimise disruption, travellers due to arrive in the UK over the Christmas period are warned to expect delays and disruption over the strike action affecting border control.

Passengers should be prepared for longer wait times and should check with their travel agents, tour operators and airlines/carriers about possible disruptions to their journey prior to travelling.

Cirium data analysis


Ahead of the Border Force strikes which begin tomorrow, aviation analytics firm Cirium have revealed the number of arriving flights and seats into the affected airports. The data gives some insight into the scale of the disruption.

Their projection of potential impact is listed helow:

Impact of Border Force strikes

Between 23-26 and 28-31 December*, the airports affected by the Border Force strikes** are scheduled to see a total of 8,910 arrivals – equating to over 1.7 million seats

Tomorrow, Friday 23 December, will be the busiest day for arriving flights at Birmingham, Glasgow and Gatwick, while Friday 30 December will be the busiest at Manchester.

Heathrow and Cardiff will see an equal number of arrivals on 23 and 30 December.

SOURCE: Cirium

 Speaking on the strike action and its potential scope of impact, Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “It’s the uncertainty that is worrying passengers, as they have no idea how the strikes will impact their arrival experience.”

“Many are likely to face longer queues and delays during this festive period, and some could find themselves stuck on arriving aircraft before being allowed into the terminals. Let’s hope that border officials can process all passengers smoothly and without worry.”

AviationSource previously reported on potential disruptions following the news of strike action by the PCS Union. Just under 600 flights are scheduled to land at Heathrow Airport alone on Friday. Around 10,000 passengers will arrive there before 7.00am tomorrow morning.

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