On Tuesday, London’s Heathrow Airport announced that it would impose daily departure passenger cap limits and asked airlines to halt the sale of new tickets for the remainder of the summer. Why it’s important Similar to other airports and airlines, Heathrow is having trouble finding enough staff to handle the increase in demand for air travel. Current Situation: According to Heathrow CEO John Holland-open Kaye’s letter to passengers, the passenger cap will be in effect from July 12 through September 11 and will put a daily cap on the number of departing passengers at 100,000.
According to recent predictions, there will still be more than 4,000 departures per day, or an average of 104,000. In order to lessen the impact on passengers, Holland-Kaye wrote, “We are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets as only about 1,500 of these 4,000 daily seats have currently been sold to passengers on average.”
What they’re saying
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“In recent weeks, as departing passenger numbers have consistently exceeded 100,000 per day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable: long queue times, delays for passengers needing assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality, and last-minute cancellations,” Holland-Kaye wrote.
By taking immediate action, he continued, “our goal is to protect flights for the vast majority of Heathrow passengers this summer and to instil confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and dependable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags.” Despite the fact that Heathrow started hiring new staff members last year in preparation for the summer travel season, ground handlers—one of the essential functions of the airport—remain understaffed, Holland-Kaye continued.
Additionally, the airport has witnessed its fastest four-month gain in passengers in 40 years.
The big picture: Similar restrictions have recently been imposed by other airports. The second-largest airport in the United Kingdom, Gatwick Airport in London, announced last month that it would cap the number of flights during the summer to 825 per day in July and 850 per day in August. Similarly, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport made the announcement last month that it would cap daily passengers at 70,000, roughly 16% fewer than anticipated by airlines.