Industry News 17.03.23


Passport office workers to strike for five weeks over pay dispute

More than 1,000 Passport Office workers will go on strike for five weeks over a dispute about jobs, pay and conditions, unions say.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union working across England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the action from 3 April to 5 May.

Those working in Belfast are being balloted and could join the strike.

The union warned the action is likely to have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports ahead of summer.

More than 4,000 people are employed by the Passport Office across the UK, meaning that according to the union figures around one in four workers will be walking out.

Source: BBC News. Click here for full story.

Heathrow forced to cut passenger charges again

Heathrow airport has once again been told to cut its passenger charges, owing to the recovery of passenger numbers following the pandemic.  The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed its final decision on the so-called H7 settlement, which dictates the annual caps on passenger charges paid by airlines for using the airport until the end of 2026.

The average charge per passenger at Heathrow for 2023 will remain fixed at the £31.57, set out in its interim decision issued earlier this year.  The regulator said this will fall to £25.43 in 2024 and “remain broadly flat at that level” until the end of 2026.  The CAA says that the final decision is based on annual passenger forecasts which expect a return to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, as well as a forecast of 375.5 million passengers between 2022 and 2026.

UK’s ETA scheme to be in place by end of 2024

The Home Office has outlined plans for the rollout of the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme by 2025.  The scheme will require all visitors to the UK who do not need a visa for short stays to apply for an ETA in advance.  This will include travellers from Europe, as well as other nations such as the US and Australia – currently visitors from these destinations do not have to make any form of application to visit the UK.

The new scheme will be fully in place by the end of 2024, but ahead of this it will launch for visitors from Qatar in October this year, followed by those from Jordan and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states from February 2024.  For more information, click here.

Virgin Atlantic joins SkyTeam alliance

Virgin Atlantic has joined the SkyTeam airline alliance as the group’s first and only UK-based carrier.  The move will enhance the alliance’s transatlantic network, adding services to and from Heathrow and Manchester airports, while Virgin Atlantic passengers will now have access to more than 1,000 destinations around the world, as well as 750-plus airport lounges.

Travel news as a glance:

  • Air France and KLM to switch back from Heathrow T3 to T4 in the near future
  • Qatar Airways announces network expansion with possible return to Cardiff
  • British Airways doubles flights to Hong Kong from 26 March 2023
  • Dubai’s Carbon Calculator to now track real-time emissions of hotels
  • China-Europe travel not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2026
  • KLM, Delta & EasyJet take legal action against Schiphol capacity cap
  • Loganair to restore Glasgow-Donegal service
  • Saint Lucia introduces electronic entry form
  • SWISS unveils new cabin interiors
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