HEATHROW Airport is facing further travel chaos later this week, as refuellers plan a three-day strike.

The walkout, planned from early Thursday through to early Sunday, has been timed to coincide with the start of the school summer holidays to cause maximum disruption.

Trade union Unite confirmed the plans by the Aviation Fuel Services said in a statement today.

Unite said AFS was responsible for refuelling half of the non-British Airways traffic at Heathrow.

The strike will heap even more pressure on Heathrow, which has suffered in recent months from flight delays, lost luggage, cancelled flights and caps on passengers owing to staff shortages.

Affected airlines included Air France, American, Delta, Emirates, KLM, Singapore, United and Virgin Atlantic, Unite added.

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A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told the BBC it had planned "several contingency measures" in case the strikes went ahead.

A spokesman added: "Our priority is to ensure that our customers can complete their travel plans, regardless of the proposed strikes, with minimal disruption."

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "AFS is wholly owned by incredibly wealthy energy companies who are entirely able to provide our members with a decent pay increase.

"This is yet another example of energy companies boosting profits at the expense of workers."

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News of the strike comes as official data Tuesday showed UK wages being eroded at a record pace because of decades-high inflation.

Unite said AFS staff had rejected a pay increase of 10 percent, with British annual inflation set to top that amount this year on soaring energy and food prices.

Following news of the stoppages, Heathrow said it was in discussions with airlines over "contingency plans they can implement, including using other fuel suppliers already operating at the airport".

It comes as airlines and airports struggle to recruit staff having sacked thousands of workers as the world entered Covid pandemic lockdowns.

Meanwhile, Ryanair cabin crew are on strike in Spain for four days this week.

The cabin crew walkouts are scheduled at ten airports and will last until Thursday.

A third wave of strikes is also planned for Monday – Thursday next week, as part of an ongoing argument over pay.

The strikes will affect ten Spanish airports, including Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante, Sevilla, Palma, Valencia, Girona, Santiago de Compostela and Ibiza.

A Ryanair spokesperson said the action was "poorly supported" and called by unions representing "tiny numbers" of staff.

They also said they expected "minimal disruptions" during the walkouts.

EasyJet staff are also planning a strike next week, from July 29 till July 31.

Amongst the airports affected are Barcelona's El Prat, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca.

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EasyJet are planning to run all their flights despite the strike, but did warn that some of them will be affected.

A spokesperson from the airline said: "There could be some disruption to out flying programme to and from Malaga, Palma and Barcelona during the strike period but at this stage, easyJet plans to operate its full schedule and we would like to reassure customers that we will do everything possible to minimise any disruption."

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