Heathrow preparing for weekend strike action
Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00
KEY operational staff will meet today at London's Heathrow airport to hone contingency plans to keep Europe's busiest hub airport running smoothly if the British Airways' (BA) cabin crew dispute culminates with strike action this weekend.
But even as BA and the Unite union prepared for seemingly unstoppable unrest, the company predicted that far fewer passengers would turn up this weekend because of the publicised action.
"Heathrow should have moved on from the days of marquees outside that look like an airport put together piecemeal rather than one of the world's premier hubs," said one participant in the meeting between the unions.
Despite cancelling more than half of its flights on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, BA does not predict long queues.
However, BA passengers can expect delays to flights from Friday as aircraft and crew are moved around to meet an emergency schedule to keep 60pc of passengers flying during the strike.
The airline has trained 400 pilots and 600 ground staff to work as temporary cabin crew. Its Heathrow operation will bear the brunt of the disruption.
"There is no reason to believe that we are in sight of anything that would call off industrial action," a Unite spokesman said.