Travel Industry News 21st August 2023

Heathrow baggage carousel workers balloted on strike action

Baggage carousel maintenance and servicing workers at Heathrow airport are being balloted over possible strike action.  Unite said that around 170 Vanderlande Industries workers were being balloted following what the union referred to as a “poor pay offer”.

The ballot runs until 1 September, and Unite said that should its members take industrial action “it will bring all terminals and airline baggage handling to a standstill”.

The ballot is the latest in a long line of disputes and industrial action at Heathrow this year – although the planned 31 days of strikes by security workers during June, July and August was called off after workers received a new pay offer.  Gatwick airport is also set for disruption later this month, with eight days of strike action planned by 230 employees.


UK Governement confirms 2024 rail fares rise will be ‘below inflation’

The UK government has confirmed that 2024’s increase in rail fares will be set below the current rate of inflation for the second consecutive year.  The Department for Transport (DFT) traditionally uses the Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure in July to set the following year’s increase in regulated ticket prices, which cover about 45 per cent of all fares.

But the DFT decided to cap 2023’s increase at 5.9 per cent, which represented average earnings growth in July 2022 rather than the RPI figure at the time, which was more than twice as high at 12.3 per cent. The introduction of this increase was also delayed until 5 March 2023.  The DFT confirmed that the government would be using a similar strategy for 2024’s price increases with RPI for July 2023 expected be around 9 per cent.


London Stansted exceeded pre-pandemic levels in July

London Stansted welcomed over 2.8 million passengers last month, equating to 102 per cent of the numbers achieved in July 2019.  The figure is also up 13 per cent in July 2019, and is the airport’s third busiest month in its history, beaten only by August 2018 and August 2019.  The last day in July was Stansted’s busiest this year so far, with 97,000 passengers travelling through the airport.

The news follows the announcement that London Heathrow welcomed 7.6 million passengers in July, represented the fifth highest monthly passenger numbers recorded at the airport – but still slightly down on July 2019.


Travel news as a glance:

  • Finnair to adopt Avios as loyalty reward currency in early 2024
  • Emirates to increase flights to London Heathrow by an additional five a week from winter schedule
  • Cathay Pacific revamps business loyalty programme