UK strike may disrupt Qatar Airways flights to London

Aero Icarus / Flickr

A Qatar Airways A330 about to land at London Heathrow

UPDATE Dec.21: Swissport staff have now called off their strike after management made a revised pay offer following talks. 

Passengers flying Qatar Airways to and from London Heathrow in the run-up to Christmas may face disruption due to a planned strike by airport staff.

1,500 employees of Swissport, which handles check-in and baggage handling for the airline at Heathrow, have called a strike for Dec. 23 and Dec. 24, targeting the busy pre-Christmas travel period.

The Swissport staff are members of the Unite union, which said it has called the strike as a “last resort” following a dispute over pay and conditions.

In a statement, the union called on the company’s management to continue negotiations so that the strike could be averted.

‘Minimal impact’

It is unclear how much of an effect the strike will have at the airport if it goes ahead.

A Heathrow spokesman told the BBC that “minimal impact for passengers” is expected.

But, previous strikes have prompted some airlines to offer hand-baggage only flights. And industrial action during one of the year’s busiest travel periods is likely to present a challenge to the airport’s remaining staff.

Qatar Airways has not yet responded to a request for comment about the strike’s possible impact on customers.

Swissport also handles ground services for Emirates at Heathrow.

Are you flying into London over Christmas? Thoughts?

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