Gulf carriers cancel all UK flights

Dubai: With the exception of Gulf Air, all other major Gulf carriers cancelled flights to the UK on Wednesday as a result of the 24-hour industrial strike across the country by UK Border Control Authority affecting all UK airports.

While Emirates cancelled has cancelled its flight EK029, Dubai to London Heathrow and the returning EK030, Etihad Airways said it has had to cancel three flights - EY019 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow; EY020 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi; and EY017 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow. However, Etihad's flights to Manchester will operate "as scheduled".

"Also, at the request of authorities at London Heathrow airport flight EY011 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow will operate on November 30 with a reduced passenger capacity," the Abu Dhabi carrier said in a statement, adding that passengers booked on these flights are currently being rebooked by the carrier onto alternative flights.

Emirates, meanwhile, is encouraging passengers to consider travelling on alternate days. "There is likely to be significant disruption and extensive delays for arriving and departing passengers in and out of the UK," an Emirates spokesperson said in a statement.

Bahrain-based Gulf Air, on the other hand - which operates two flights per day to the UK - has not cancelled any flights to the UK. "All our flights are operating as scheduled," a Gulf Air spokesperson told Gulf News in a statement.

Qatar Airways, meanwhile, states on its website that passengers arriving on its flights to London Heathrow and Manchester were likely to be "affected" due to the strike.

"Due to industrial strike action by UK Border Agency staff on Wednesday 30th November 2011, passengers on all airlines arriving into UK airports should expect long queues and delays during the passport and immigration process," the Doha carrier said in its travel alert on the airline's website, further offering rebooking options for passengers holding confirmed reservations for travel on November 30.

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