London’s Heathrow Airport caps daily passenger numbers

Jul 12, 2022, 4:57 AM | Updated: Jul 13, 2022, 2:32 am
FILE - Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. London...

FILE - Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. London’s Heathrow Airport apologized Monday, July 11, 2022 to passengers whose travels have been disrupted by staff shortages. The airport warned that it may ask airlines to cut more flights from their summer schedules to reduce the strain if the chaos persists. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

LONDON (AP) — London’s Heathrow Airport is capping daily passenger numbers for the summer and telling airlines to stop selling tickets as it steps up efforts to quell travel chaos caused by soaring travel demand and staff shortages.

Britain’s busiest airport said Tuesday that it’s setting a limit of 100,000 passengers that it can handle each day through Sept. 11. The restriction is likely to result in more canceled flights even after airlines already slashed thousands of flights from their summer schedules.

U.K. aviation authorities demanded that airlines ensure they can operate without disruption over the summer, with carriers not punished for not using their valuable takeoff and landing slots. They were responding to chaotic airport scenes as passengers complained about long lineups at security, lost luggage and lengthy flight delays.

Even with that allowance, Heathrow, which had warned a day earlier that it may ask airlines to cut flights further, said it still expected more passengers than airport ground staff could handle.

“Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe that further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in an open letter to passengers.

Airlines are expected to operate flights over the summer with an overall daily capacity of 104,000 seats, or 4,000 more than Heathrow can handle, the airport said. Only about 1,500 of the 4,000 extra daily seats have been sold to passengers.

“So we are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers,” Holland-Kaye said.

British Airways, the airline with the biggest presence at Heathrow, has already cut 11% of its scheduled flights between April and October. It didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday on whether it would cancel more.

Virgin Atlantic, which is also based at Heathrow, said it’s “ready to deliver its full schedule this summer” but supported the airport’s “proactive measures” to reduce disruption, as long they don’t have an outsized impact on its home carriers.

Other European airports have imposed similar caps this summer. London’s Gatwick has limited daily flight numbers, while Amsterdam’s Schiphol cut its maximum daily passenger numbers by 13,500.

Booming demand for summer travel after two years of COVID-19 travel restrictions have overwhelmed European airlines and airports that had laid off tens of thousands of pilots, cabin crew, check-in staff, ground crew and baggage handlers amid the depths of the pandemic.

Heathrow has said it started a recruiting drive in November and expects security staffing to be back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of July.

“However, there are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under-resourced, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft,” making it a “significant constraint” to overall capacity, Holland-Kaye said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

In this combination of photos from video provided by ESPN, pitcher Kaiden Shelton (29), of Pearland...
Associated Press

Beaned Little League batter rises to console upset pitcher

WACO, Texas (AP) — A Little League batter rose from a beaning to console the upset pitcher in a dramatic scene at a Little League regional tournament game Tuesday in Waco, Texas. The incident happened during a Little League Southwest Regional Playoff final. Righthander Kaiden Shelton of Pearland, Texas, was facing batter Isaiah Jarvis of […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Gas prices are displayed at a Sunoco gas station along the Ohio Turnpike near Youngstown, Oh...
Associated Press

US inflation will likely stay high even as gas prices fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans may finally be catching a break from relentlessly surging prices — if just a slight one — even as inflation is expected to remain painfully high for months. Thanks largely to falling gas prices, the government’s inflation report for July, to be released Wednesday morning, is expected to show that prices […]
20 hours ago
A bicyclist rides past a barn with political banner on it as the sun rises on primary election day,...
Associated Press

Republicans to pick Senate candidate to challenge Blumenthal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former state legislator and a GOP fundraiser who received a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump were locked Tuesday in a tight primary contest for U.S. Senate that could signal where the state Republican party is headed politically after years of backing moderates. The race pits former state House […]
20 hours ago
Recent college graduate Liu Qian walks along a street in Beijing, Thursday, July 7, 2022. Liu is on...
Associated Press

China’s youth face bleak job market as COVID slows economy

BEIJING (AP) — Liu Qian, job-hunting with a new master’s degree, said two employers interviewed her and then said the positions had been eliminated. Others asked her to take lower pay. She is one of 11 million new graduates desperate for work in a bleak job market as anti-virus controls force factories, restaurants and other […]
20 hours ago
FILE - A man holds a sign urging increased access to the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San ...
Associated Press

US will stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials on Tuesday authorized a plan to stretch the nation’s limited supply of monkeypox vaccine by giving people just one-fifth the usual dose, citing research suggesting that the reduced amount is about as effective. The so-called dose-sparing approach also calls for administering the Jynneos vaccine with an injection just under […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., speaks at a Memorial Day observance event on May 30, 20...
Associated Press

WA GOP House member who voted to impeach Trump concedes

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of two Republican members of Washington’s congressional delegation who voted to impeach Donald Trump, has conceded her reelection bid after being overtaken in late vote tallies by a GOP challenger endorsed by the former president. Trump had targeted the six-term incumbent and endorsed Joe Kent, a […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
London’s Heathrow Airport caps daily passenger numbers