Client Advisory: Strike in Heathrow, LHR

August 4, 2019


Kindly note that the latest information states that the strike has been cancelled in LHR as discussions with the unions continue.



The factions that are striking are staff directly employed by Heathrow airport and belonging to the Unite union, including security officers, firefighters and engineers, are in dispute with the employer over pay. They say they are not fairly rewarded, and that Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, earns in two days what some of the lowest paid airport workers earn in a year.


A spokesperson for Heathrow said on Saturday: “Unite have rejected our revised pay offer today. While we are disappointed, we will continue to seek an agreement at Acas tomorrow.Unite is proceeding with its unnecessary strike action on 5 and 6 August and we regret that passengers looking to get away on well-earned family holidays will be impacted.Industrial action is also planned for 23 and 24 August, unless an agreement is reached.”


The strike has been suspended for Monday to allow for further talks on the pay dispute. The strike is scheduled to begin 6 August. 


John Holland-Kaye’s aim is to reduce the scale of the problem by cancelling 177 flights preemptively, affecting around 30,000 people and representing 7% of the total number of arrivals and departures. The exact flights have not yet been revealed. Airlines will make their own choices. BA says it will notify affected travelers on 4 August.


On a normal day Heathrow has around 1,300 flights carrying 220,000 people.If as many prospective passengers as possible are prepared to switch dates (or airports), the effects will be dampened. British Airways is allowing short-haul passengers to take flights from Gatwick or London City instead, or change departure dates to any time up to August 12. However, there are a limited number of open seats to transfer into on other flights. 

One airline, Flybe, may take the most unusual step of flying an aircraft from Heathrow empty, to avoid the risk of delays. Four services to Edinburgh and one to Newquay may be cancelled; the aircraft will fly out normally, and return with a full flight of passengers.


How does this affect freight? 
Monday and Tuesday are relatively light days for Cargo and any freight arriving 4 August should not be affected. If you have booking arriving on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday your shipment could be delayed.If you have any urgent shipments this week you should route them to alternate airports ie. LGW-MAN or to Dublin or Shannon BA where we run overnight trucks into LHR.


Our team on the ground in LHR will be sending updates and we will continue to keep our clients informed.  


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