HIGH SECURITY following a disrupted terrorist plot to blow up aircrafts traveling from the UK to the United States has caused chaos for air travel to and from the UK today (August 10).
At Faro airport, security has been increased with only people traveling today being allowed into the terminal building. In the UK, strict hand luggage restrictions have been applied to those who choose to fly, however these rules are not being enforced at Faro. There is only one TAP flight scheduled to go to Heathrow today, however they are awaiting further information from Heathrow to find out whether or not this flight will go ahead. Some delays are being experienced on other flights to destinations such as Gatwick and Luton, however all flights are still going ahead and no cancellations have been experienced as of yet, despite conflicting reports.
Bill Henderson of the British Consulate in Portimão has described the situation as ‘not serious’, however there is ‘heightened security’ at the airport. The advice given from London is to stay in touch with the airlines as they will have the latest news regarding travel arrangements. The majority of airlines have told tourists to carry on as normal with their travel arrangements but to expect delays until the backlog of flights begin to clear. There are conflicting reports with regard to whether any flights will be cancelled, however it is largely dependant on how long Heathrow airport remains closed. The main inconvenience tourists are to expect at the airport is having to repack their luggage as those traveling to the UK are being searched thoroughly.
According to reports from the Correio da Manhã newspaper, all flights from Lisbon, Porto and Faro bound for Heathrow had been cancelled, however First Choice in the Algarve confirmed that there have been no cancellations. They have been getting their information from the Duty Office and Foreign Office in the UK.
British Airways has cancelled all short haul inbound and outbound flights to and from London Heathrow for the whole of Thursday, August 10. It is likely that Lisbon airport has been more affected by these events as the majority of British Airways flights to the UK depart from the capital and not from the Algarve. Some short haul flights in and out of London Gatwick have been cancelled but these are mainly domestic flights and short haul flights to some European destinations such as Amsterdam, Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Zurich and Verona. No cancellations have been reported from Gatwick to Faro. Flight EZY3297 from Stansted to Faro scheduled to depart at 17.17 has been cancelled but other flights to the Algarve are still going on as scheduled according to the airports website. There have been no flights from Lisbon or Porto to Gatwick today and flights from Faro to Gatwick have been arriving with little disruption.
According to Alison Ribeiro from PDM Travel, if an airline does cancel a flight, by law they have to provide an alternative flight to the closest route possible.
For more information, go to www.baa.com to find lists of all updated flight details from the affected airports. Many websites are experiencing delays due to the increased activity from travelers anxious to find out how their travel arrangements have being affected. You can also phone the TAP hotline on 707 213 141.