BA limits sales on Heathrow’s short-haul flights for the remainder of the summer

BA limits sales on Heathrow’s short-haul flights for the remainder of the summer

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Steve Parsons / PA

British Airways will limit sales for short-haul flights from Heathrow throughout the summer, with no more tickets for departures before 15 August, in an effort to avoid further disruptions and cancellations.

BA’s unprecedented move comes in response to London Airport’s maximum passenger limit, which limited the total number to 100,000 passengers per day, after staff shortages led to long queues, flight delays and problems with luggage earlier this year.

The airline said it was taking “responsible action” that would strengthen resilience and that the suspension of seat sales to domestic and European destinations would also allow existing customers to re-book flights as needed.

BA canceled more than 10,000 summer flights last month, but it will not remove further departures from the schedule under the new plans and no existing bookings will be affected.

After August 15, the airline plans to limit sales “dynamically” rather than a blanket ban, but plans to continue limiting available seats for the busiest days and times throughout the summer. He said the measures will protect existing bookings and help manage any disruptions due to other factors, such as adverse weather conditions or air traffic restrictions.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “We have taken preventive measures to curtail our schedule this summer to give customers certainty about their travel plans and to strengthen our resilience, given the ongoing challenges the entire aviation industry faces. face up to.

“When Heathrow introduced its passenger limit, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule. And to continue meeting the limit, we have taken responsible action by limiting sales, or all available fares, on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to re-book customers.

“We will continue to manage bookings to meet the Heathrow limit so that we can take our customers away as planned this summer.”

Airlines and airports in Britain and Europe have struggled to cope with the travel rebound after the pandemic, with many still unable to recruit sufficient staff, particularly in ground handling services such as check-in and baggage.

Heathrow said it now has as many people employed in security as in 2019 and that 80% of passengers will pass security checks within 20 minutes or less. But Heathrow added that its airlines, which are responsible for hiring or contracting ground staff, don’t have enough people to manage.

He told airlines to limit the number of tickets they sell during the summer after limiting the number of passengers passing through the airport to 100,000 per day to limit queues. Another carrier, Emirates, which initially resisted the order, has now agreed to limit sales alongside BA.

Despite the limit, an average of more than 100,000 people per day took off in the first 10 days of the UK summer holidays, Heathrow said. Over 1 million people have taken flights during the busiest time of the airport for departures since Christmas 2019, with New York, Los Angeles and Dubai the main routes.

Heathrow said the high percentage of casual leisure travelers unfamiliar with the airport and current documentation requirements are slowing progress at check-in counters and security. Delays were caused by people ignoring rules prohibiting liquids over 100ml in hand luggage, while queues at the airport were exacerbated by anxious passengers arriving more than three hours before departure, before opening check-in.

Chief Operating Officer Emma Gilthorpe said Heathrow wants to operate without a limit as soon as possible, but would require airlines to have sufficient ground handling resources.

He said: “The airport has struggled to cope with rising passenger volumes beyond the collective ability of airlines across the airport to serve them. This has resulted in an unacceptable increase in delays to pick up planes, baggage that doesn’t they were traveling with passengers or delivered very late in the baggage hall, poor punctuality in departures and some flights canceled after passengers boarded.

“The limit has slightly reduced the number of passengers, aligning them with available resources and, as a result, is already leading to better and more reliable journeys for passengers.”

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