Passengers using Gatwick face further pre-Christmas travel disruption this week, with a three-day strike crippling train services to and from the airport.

Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef will walk out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

This will result in no Southern Rail services plus the cancellation of about half the Gatwick Express trains between London and the airport during the day and all of them at night.

There will be no Gatwick Express trains from Brighton to the airport.

Thameslink services will not be affected and rail bosses hope six trains an hour – two Express and four Thameslink – will run between London and Gatwick. There are usually about 14 an hour.

About 234,000 passengers are expected to use the airport during the three strike days. More than one-third of them would normally use the trains, the Sunday Times reported.

The airport said: “We are expecting significant disruption to rail services to and from Gatwick on 13, 14 and 16 December due to a train drivers strike.
“There will be no Southern trains and reduced Gatwick Express services.

“Please plan your journey in advance and allow plenty of extra time to get to the airport. You may want to consider alternatives methods of transport.”

The walkout, involving up to 1,000 drivers, follows long-running strike action by conductors represented by the RMT union.

The dispute is over the expansion of so-called driver-only operated services on Southern, which involves the driver – not the conductor – opening and closing train doors. The unions say the change will put safety at risk.