Heathrow to scrap passenger cap by end of October

Heathrow, UK - June 27, 2018: Landing Qatar Airways airplane above a street sign for Heathrow airport.

London’s Heathrow Airport will finally end its daily passenger caps at the end of this month, hopefully signalling an end to the UK’s chaotic summer season.

Since 12 July, the largest airport in the UK has had a capacity limit in place, allowing no more than 100,000 departing passengers per day to combat a huge increase in flight cancellations, delays and baggage mishaps as travel gets back on its feet.

The cap was originally slated to end on 11 September, but the airport announced in August it would be extended until 29 October to ease the strain ahead of half-term getaways.

According to the Wall Street Journal, sources close to the matter confirmed the cap will not extend past 29 October when the summer flying season ends.

A spokeswoman for the airport told WSJ the cap has resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter waits for bags.

“Our focus has always been on removing the cap as quickly as possible—but we will only do so if we are confident that adding in more passengers will not erode the service levels that the cap has secured,” the spokeswoman said.

Once the cap is lifted, Heathrow will keep separate restrictions that prevent airlines from making changes or additions at peak periods, as well as an emergency measure used to limit capacity for shorter periods which the airport will be able to use in case of severe disruption, sources told WSJ.

This comes as Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport confirmed it would extend its passenger cap until at least the end of March next year, which the airport noted airlines were “not happy” about.

Schiphol’s COO Hanne Buis said the airport was working with security companies and unions to tackle staff shortages, which Buis said was a “daunting task in a very tight labour market”.

“It’s something to be realistic about. That’s why it will only become clear later this year whether more is possible after January,” Buis said.


Image: iStock/stockcam

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