Heathrow: Half-term getaways threatened with number limit

Busier than usual Heathrow T5, London, 22 Jul 2022. Travelers face long queues at airports across the country this morning on what is expected to be an extremely busy day for air and road transport as schools break up and the summer vacation begins.

The situation is being called ‘a mess’ but Heathrow said it will cut down on last minute flight cancellations (Picture: SWNS)

Thousands of passengers have been left in the dark as Heathrow Airport extends its passenger limit for another six weeks.

No more than 100,000 people a day will be able to leave until October 29, amid chaos at UK airports due to demand and understaffing.

Heathrow has canceled hundreds of flights in recent months, but fewer trips have been canceled at the last minute since the limit was first introduced in July.

An airport spokesperson added that more passengers have seen their flights depart on time and experienced shorter waiting times for baggage.

But the move is disrupting vacation plans for many families hoping to get away over the spring break.

Ryanair has promised to add more than 500 flights to London Stansted to combat ‘hopeless Heathrow’.

Meanwhile, Consumer Rights Group Which? has called the situation ‘a mess’ and urges Heathrow to say now which flights are certain to go ahead.

“While the Heathrow passenger ceiling extension may help prevent a repeat of the unacceptable last-minute cancellations we saw earlier in the summer, thousands of people will now worry about whether their travel plans could be disrupted,” Guy Hobbs, travel editor at the organization, he said.

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File Photo

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary called the airport ‘hopeless Heathrow’ (Image: Reuters)

Heathrow and affected airlines must act promptly to clarify to travelers which flights will be cancelled, and airlines must ensure that affected passengers are aware of their right to rebook or refund.

“The airline industry and government need to get this mess sorted out as soon as possible – passenger caps can’t last indefinitely.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary added: “As Heathrow continues to mismanage air traffic woefully, Ryanair and London Stansted will continue to grow and deliver to London families, as we have done throughout the summer of 2022.”

The company’s boss insisted that Ryanair and Stansted have “more than enough staff” to handle the announced additional flights.

Capacity limits will be reviewed, a Heathrow statement said.

Officials offered some hope, saying they “could be lifted sooner if there is a lingering picture of better resilience and material increase in resources.”

Ross Baker, Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer, has said the ‘primary concern is ensuring that we provide our passengers with a reliable service when they travel’.

“That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July, which has already improved travel during the summer holidays,” he says.

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

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

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