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Heathrow expects a busy December, hampered by labor strikes, as the United Kingdom airport hub reports 30 percent lower traffic numbers than in 2019.

Heathrow Airport said on Monday that it expected the vast majority of travelers will be unaffected by this month’s planned strikes by Border Force workers.

British Border Force workers plan to strike for several days from Dec. 23 at airports including Heathrow, Britain’s busiest, and Gatwick due to a dispute over pay.

“We are doing everything we can to protect a full flight schedule on strike days, so departing passengers should expect to travel as normal,” Heathrow said.

It said arriving passengers with British, EU, U.S., Canadian and some other passports will be able to use e-gates as usual and their journeys should be largely unaffected on strike days.

Border Force has contingency measures to ensure other arriving passengers are cleared safely and as quickly as possible, Heathrow said.

On Friday, Britain’s defense ministry said military personnel were training to carry out passport checks in case they needed to be deployed.

Interior minister Suella Braverman warned last Thursday that Border Force strikes may cause travel delays, adding that people should think carefully about their plans to fly abroad.

Britain faces an unprecedented number of strikes in the run up to and during the Christmas holiday period, including nurses, ambulance staff and rail workers, as labour unions demand higher pay for their members to keep up with soaring inflation.

Heathrow also gave an update on recent traffic flows. It said 5.6 million people had travelled through the airport in November, down from 5.9 million in October.

It said over 55 million people had travelled through Heathrow so far this year — nearly 70 percent of 2019 levels.

Heathrow added that it expected December to be busy.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Crispian Balmer) Copyright (2022) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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Tags: airlines, Heathrow Airport

Photo credit: A directional sign inside Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 outside London, England. Skift

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