Agents assess impact of airport security chaos

A number of scheduled airlines have cancelled its services today, following the police anti-terror operation at Heathrow airport, leaving C&I agents with immediate bookings in uncertainty. British Airways cancelled all short-haul flights in and out of the hub earlier this morning, axing 204 of the 550 flights with warnings of "a number of long-haul cancellations" throughout the day. A spokesman at British Airways said that C&I groups booked on short-haul flights could be "advised on next steps by their account manager". A series of new check-in processes mean that cabin baggage, bar prescribed medicines, travel documents and glasses, must go straight into the hold of all outbound UK aircraft. Event agents remain philosophical about the long-term effects of the security threat. Kent-based agency Olliver York has a group event for ten scientists flying from Gatwick to Pesaro in Italy tomorrow morning. Managing director Jo Olliver said: "We are waiting to see how things unfold and will take a decision tonight whether or not it will go-ahead." "These types of occurrences are part of the environment we have become used to operating in. We also have a big event in Cyprus later this year and there is a certain amount of nervousness as to how the Middle East situation is likely to unfold." She added: "We are just telling clients to hold tight and wait for further news." Hertfordshire agency IDL Marketing has a number of events planned for September. Business development director Annette Whymark said today's alert had been "tactically disruptive, albeit at a quiet time of year for the industry". She added: "The problem is that, at the moment, you can’t get access to any long-term information." Whymark said that IDL Marketing’s first priorities were to "advise clients and staff of new baggage regulations and reorganise schedules to allow more time for check-in." Eventia secretariat Sarah Webster added that the situation was likely to have a "serious" effect on groups travelling within the next 24 hours. "It is also safe to say that UK events agencies are well prepared for this type of eventuality," she added. "They will be thinking laterally from the first moment consulting stakeholders and making contingency plans." More than 650 flights were scheduled to depart today from London Heathrow, 76 of which were destined for the US airports. German carrier Lufthansa, Irish airline Aer Lingus, Spanish group Iberia and a number of low cost airlines have also cancelled flights to the UK. Have the events of today impacted on you?
Will the security threat have long-term effects on the C&I sector?
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