Reports from London indicate that Wednesday's UK public sector strike, in which a large number of Border Agency immigration officers are participating, has not caused gridlock at London Heathrow (LHR) and other major UK airports as had been feared (ATW Daily News, Nov. 29).
LHR operator BAA CEO Colin Matthews said "pandemonium" had been averted through careful planning. Some airlines canceled flights while others waived change fees for rebooking, significantly lowering the number of arriving passengers.
Also, BAA told The Guardian that immigration authorities in five nations, including the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, conducted passport checks on passengers before they boarded UK-bound flights, enabling faster processing upon arrival at LHR and other airports.
The Border Agency additionally had spent months training replacement staff in anticipation of Wednesday's one-day strike protesting austerity measures.