Data published by aviation analytics firm Cirium shows that the upcoming strike action by UK Border Force could affect nearly 9,000 arriving flights and up to 1.8 million passengers.

Officials are set to strike over a total of eight days between December 23 and 31 (see below for more information), affecting Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports.

Cirium says that these airports are expected to see a total of 8,910 arrivals over the strike days, equating to 1,789,448 seats – although not all of the flights involved may be fully booked.

December 23 is forecast to be the busiest day for arriving flights at Birmingham, Glasgow and Gatwick, while December 30 is expected to be the busiest day for Manchester. Heathrow and Cardiff are set to see equal most busy days on December 23 and 30.

Heathrow airport accounts for nearly half of all the arrivals over the strike period (4,149 flights, equating to 915,365 seats), followed by Gatwick (2,196 flight, equating to 421,745 seats) and Manchester (1,372 flights, equating to 265,847 seats).

London’s Stansted airport – the UK’s fourth busiest hub in pre-pandemic 2019 – will not be affected by the Border Force strikes, and is expecting to welcome more than 1.2 million people during the festive period between December 16 and January 3.

Stansted expects more than 1.2 million passengers over Christmas period

Commenting on the industrial action Steve Dann, Border Force chief operating Officer, said:

“We apologise for any disruption caused to travellers entering the UK.

“Border Force’s number one priority to is keep our citizens safe and borders secure. We are working together with partners across the travel industry to ensure we can continue to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border.

“During the periods of industrial action, travellers should be prepared for disruption.

“We encourage everyone to check the latest advice from your operators before travelling.”

The Border Force strike action is one of several taking place in the coming weeks, including industrial action across the UK rail network.

Travel strikes this Christmas

Border Force strike dates:

  • December 23
  • December 24
  • December 25
  • December 26 (until around 0700)
  • December 28
  • December 29
  • December 30
  • December 31 (until around 0700)