Heathrow Airport Strike

Posted on August 20, 2019

Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, the 19th busiest airport in the world, has been engaging in discussions to avoid a strike by its workers. 

With pending strikes, cancelled strikes, and several negotiations of various contingency plans ongoing since June of 2019, it is difficult to tell what actions will or will not occur at the Heathrow Airport.  The only thing certain right now is that there are flights that have been cancelled due to the potential for uncertainty, and this number may continue to rise.

The potential could prove to drive financial losses against shippers and carriers, as Heathrow reported having moved 1.2 million metric tons of cargo in 2018, and that most of the flights (94%) exiting Heathrow are international flights.  This creates a possibility of causing worldwide turmoil in the air cargo logistics industry.

This matters to shippers and carriers because of the possibility of a bottleneck; if there is a labor strike at Heathrow, the numerous amounts of cargo shipments that move through it will likely be stopped with the reduction in air traffic, causing delays in moving international cargo.

While the airport itself is working to put contingency plans in effect to minimize the damage from a strike, there is no guarantee that service will be uninterrupted, and shippers would be wise to implement their own contingency plans. Even if the airport does manage to mitigate damages, there are still likely to be delays in shipments that air cargo shippers will face.

Developing this contingency plan will revolve around routing shipments in different directions to avoid the Heathrow Airport. While this may appear challenging, there are other airports in the United Kingdom that are capable of handling substantial cargo volume; examples would include airports at East Midlands, Stansted, Manchester, and Gatwick.

In several cases, a shipper’s best option will be to coordinate with additional carriers and forwarders that have a relationship working with these other airports and locations to prevent bottlenecking that can disrupt both their supply chain and their relationships with their customers. 

In cases where this coordination is too time consuming or challenging, a shipper should consider the use of a 4PL firm, such as Allyn International, to take advantage of the existing relationships that exist with various carriers and forwarders.  This network will allow for easy rerouting of shipments to mitigate any pending delays.

Shippers are better off acting sooner rather than later, as the next scheduled strike for Heathrow is August 23rd and 24th of 2019; no one knows if this strike will or will not be cancelled.

Contributor: Stephen Hull 

About Allyn International

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China, Prague, Czech Republic, and Dubai, U.A.E. For more information, visit www.allynintl.com.