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Due to a staffing shortage, Heathrow Airport will prolong a limit on the number of passengers traveling from the airport until the end of October. As a result, the limit will now be in effect through the end of the UK school year.
After a discussion with airlines, the airport announced that a daily cap of 100,000 departing passengers will now be in effect until October 29. It said that the action would make passenger travel more dependable.
According to the biggest airport in the UK, the cap will provide travelers peace of mind before spring break vacations. The cap was initially in effect from July 1 until September 11, when it was officially publicized.
British Airways stopped selling tickets for Heathrow-based short-haul flights earlier this month as a result of the cap. However, the airport added that the cap would be periodically reviewed and might be lifted early if personnel levels increased.
Ross Baker, chief commercial officer at Heathrow, stated: “Our top priority is making sure we provide our guests with a dependable service when they travel.”
According to a representative for the airline, Virgin Atlantic expressed displeasure at Heathrow’s decision to prolong its passenger capacity cap until the end of October. However, he stated that since new resources are still being added weekly and the airport experience is getting better, there was no reason to raise the cap at this time.
The airline reported that staffing levels at its ground handlers, Cobalt Ground Solutions, which are in charge of services like ramp and luggage operations, are currently 95% of 2019 levels.
How the decision by Heathrow Airport is received
The decision would jeopardize thousands of travelers’ plans, warned consumer rights organization Which? calling the situation a “mess.”
According to Guy Hobbs, travel editor at Which?, thousands of people will now be concerned about whether their travel plans will be thwarted, even though the extension of the passenger cap may help Heathrow avoid a repetition of the unacceptable last-minute cancellations we saw earlier in the summer.
Travel delays this summer have had an impact on tens of thousands of UK travelers.
As international travel came to a halt due to the epidemic, the aviation sector lost thousands of jobs. But ever since, it has had trouble finding and appointing new employees rapidly enough.
The number of last-minute flight cancellations from the UK increased 188% in June 2022 when compared to June 2019, prior to the pandemic, according to aviation data company Cirium. In a letter sent to carriers in June, the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority urged them to cancel any flights they couldn’t operate this summer.
Around 16,000 British Airways employees will receive salary increases totaling an average of 13%, according to the Unite union. In addition, workers will receive a lump sum equal to 5% of their earnings in August, a consolidated 5% boost in September, and an additional 3% increase in December as part of the agreement.
It happened after about 700 BA employees—mostly check-in staff—at Heathrow ended their walkout after accepting a similar salary offer. A 10% salary decrease implemented during the COVID pandemic had first prompted support from the staff for strike action.