Heathrow extends passenger limit for another three months

Heathrow Airport has extended the limit on departing passengers until October in an effort to reduce flight cancellations and cope with summer demand.

After consulting with the airlines, the airport of the Spanish company Ferrovial will extend its limit of 100,000 daily departure passengers until October 29, the end of the summer season.

Heathrow introduced the cap last month, claiming it has since resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter waits for bags.

The move followed other airports that have set similar limits, including London’s Gatwick, Germany’s Frankfurt Airport and the Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport.

TO READ Heathrow apologizes as travel surge represents 40-year passenger growth in four months

Heathrow executives say the cap will remain under review and could be lifted sooner depending on resource levels, meaning the airline’s ground handlers’ labor constraint. The airport last week launched a review of airline ground handling as part of a wider assessment of its entire ecosystem.

“Our main concern is to ensure we offer our passengers a reliable service when they travel. That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July which have already improved journeys over the summer break,” said Ross Baker, commercial director of Heathrow.

“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do that when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to provide the service our passengers deserve,” he added.

“We are disappointed that Heathrow Airport has already decided to extend the passenger capacity limit until the end of October as additional resources are brought in every week and the airport experience improves,” said a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson.

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Staff shortages have grounded flights and caused long delays at airports around the world. The Federal Aviation Administration said it was reducing flights in the area around New York City because of an implied shortage of air traffic controllers.

Ferrovial recently explored its options to sell its 25% stake in the airport after French private equity firm Ardian approached the Spanish shareholder.

This article was first published by MarketWatch, a brand of the Dow Jones Group


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