By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
AN estimated 400'000 British holiday makers, many flying out here to the Balearics, face severe disruption next week when staff at Gatwick and Stansted airports go on strike.

Baggage handling and check-in staff at both airports, which handle a large number of low cost and charter flights to all three of the Balearic airports, are expected to stage the first of a wave of 24-hour strikes on bank Holiday Monday.

The second day of industrial action is scheduled to take place on Friday, August 29 and that too may hit even more Balearic-bound holiday makers.
Airline industry experts have warned air passengers travelling on those days to prepare for the worst while the airport authorities are busy trying to reach a deal to ensure minimum services.

Gatwick and Stansted are the country's second and third most busiest airports and, with the two strikes being staged during the busiest period of the summer season, industry sources claim that delays are going to be practically unavoidable. Some of the airlines, in particular Ryanair are furious about the strike which has been called after unions rejected a three percent pay offer.

The Balearics is enduring a roller coaster summer season with some areas of the region doing well while others reporting that trade and tourism figures are down.

What the Balearic industry does not need right now is a wave of industrial action at airports in Britain from where the region is still hoping there will be a late influx of visitors as the summer nears its end and tour operators start reducing their prices in order to generate some late business.

What is more, disruption to flights arriving at Balearic airports, in particular Palma, from Gatwick and Stansted will have a knock on effect on the operations at local airports.

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