In Brief

Christmas travel chaos: plane skids off runway in Bristol and strikes loom for Ryanair, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia

Bristol Airport closed after plane veers off runway but no injuries reported

The Christmas exodus began today with Bristol Airport cancelling flights and delays of up to four hours expected on major roads as an extra 1.25 million cars join regular commuters leaving work on “Frantic Friday”.

Airport delays and strikes

Bristol Airport was experiencing major delays after a plane carrying 25 passengers slid off of the runway. There were no injuries but flights were delayed indefinitely and the runway closed. Many incoming flights were divered and passengers were advised to contact their airlines for updates.

Holidaymakers flying in and out of Stansted are being advised today to check their flight status as fog and low visibility is affecting some flights, Essex Live News says. Cardiff Airport advised passengers to allow plenty of time for their journey.

Those en route to other airports should expect long queues, with more than 4.5 million people heading abroad. While Ryanair appears to have averted a strike by staff for the time being, Ryanair pilots have not ruled out future industrial action, says The Sun.

Road congestion

The worst traffic congestion is predicted between 4pm and 8pm, as commuters clash with shoppers and holidaymakers heading off to see family and friends, the Daily Mail says.

Traffic jams are expected on the M6 southbound between Merseyside and Staffordshire, the M3 westbound in Surrey, and the M74 southbound from Glasgow to Hamilton, with delays also anticipated on the M1 in both directions and the M1 in Northern Ireland, The Daily Telegraph reports. In north Wales, congestion on the A55 is highly likely around the Britannia Bridge, which links Anglesey and the mainland, because of increased demand on Holyhead ferry port, says the BBC.

“We strongly urge drivers planning long journeys to avoid this day if they possibly can... We’re then expecting pre-Christmas leisure trips to peak on Christmas Eve,” says RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis.

Highways England will put a “roadworks embargo” in place on motorways and major A-roads from 6am on Friday until 12.01am on 2 January in order to help ease congestion.

Rail strikes and track maintenance

Rail passengers face engineering works, reduced services and strikes. South Western Railway and Greater Anglia workers will walk out for 24 hours on 27 December and New Year’s Eve. Merseyrail will run a reduced service on Friday, with union members going ahead with a 24-hour stoppage, the Telegraph says. Strike action by Virgin Trains was called off, however.

Many of Britain’s mainline routes will be partially shut as Network Rail carries out works. Great Western Railway will close London Paddington between Christmas Eve and 27 December. The West Coast main line will be replaced with buses between Preston and Lancaster from Christmas Eve until 27 December. And Southeastern, serving London, Kent and East Sussex, won’t run trains to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Cannon Street from tomorrow until 1 January, The Independent says.

Transport for London says there will be station closures and changes to Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink trains from 23 December to 1 January, in order to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway.

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