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Heathrow Airport disruption marks start of biggest bank holiday rush since 2019

Heathrow Airport disruption marks start of biggest bank holiday rush since 2019

As millions of families begin half-term week, and many others start bank holiday weekend getaways, travel within and deaprting from the UK is looking tumultuous.

The AA has said that 17 million drivers will take to the roads, while British Airways has cancelled dozens more flights to and from London Heathrow, and the AA expects 17 million drivers to take to the

Even allowing for the cancelled flights, which are due to an IT issue, Friday is expected to be the busiest day for flying from the UK since before the Covid pandemic.

More than 3,000 flight departures are expected, carrying an estimated half-million passengers.

The BA cancellations are not on the scale of the late May bank holiday 2017, when another IT failure led to all the airline’s operations at Heathrow and Gatwick being grounded. But the cost in lost revenue, hotel costs and passenger compensation will run into many millions of pounds.

Partly as a result of the British Airways cancellations, day two of a strike by security staff at Terminal 5, BA’s main base, is having little effect.

At other leading airports, journeys are proving smooth – with the main issue at Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow being cancellations of BA flights to and from Heathrow.

Staff working at Edinburgh airport have voted strongly in favour of a strike over pay, but no industrial action has yet been called.

The Unite union clearly expects the airport bosses to come back with an improved offer – but warns of “travel chaos” in the summer if a walk-out goes ahead. The airport says it has already made a “fair and generous” pay proposal.

At Dover, where the first weekend of the Easter school holidays was marked by long delays for coaches travelling to France, contingency plans appear to be working. Coaches are being marshalled away from the main port, but once they reach the French border checks processing is swift.

The port says that private cars are facing a wait of an hour for passport checks. After Brexit a hard EU border was imposed in the port, with all British travellers required to have their passport inspected and stamped.

Truck traffic is being controlled to limit delays for tourists.

With fine weather predicted, the RAC is telling motorists to prepare for “the busiest late May bank holiday since 2019”.

According to the traffic analyst Inrix, there could be severe delays on key…

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