Heathrow will maintain its limit on daily flights until the end of the October semester, it was revealed last night, raising fears of cancellations and travel difficulties lasting into the autumn.  (Picture: Heathrow June 27)

Airport chaos could last until October: Heathrow flight cap ‘will last until mid-Autumn term’

Heathrow will maintain its limit on daily flights until the end of the October semester, raising fears of cancellations and travel difficulties that last into the autumn.

West London Airport has reportedly informed carriers that limits on inbound and outbound flights will be in place until at least October 29, due to staff shortages and absences.

The travel hub has even threatened to sue airlines that fail to reduce capacity enough as part of their legal obligation to maintain “safe and resilient” travel for passengers.

It comes as the country’s busiest airport continues to struggle due to a lack of workers, with huge queues and overcrowding reported by weary holidaymakers.

Heathrow will maintain its limit on daily flights until the end of the October semester, it was revealed last night, raising fears of cancellations and travel difficulties lasting into the autumn. (Picture: Heathrow June 27)

A passenger today said he missed his flight at Heathrow as he waited in queues for check-in and security – despite arriving four hours before his departure time

A passenger today said he missed his flight at Heathrow as he waited in queues for check-in and security – despite arriving four hours before his departure time

HEATHROW: Photo of a piece of luggage left at baggage claim at Heathrow's Terminal 3 earlier this month

HEATHROW: Photo of a piece of luggage left at baggage claim at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 earlier this month

In a letter to airlines seen by the Telegraph, Mark Powell, director of operational planning at Heathrow, said the travel hub had already introduced ’emergency’ measures to avoid ‘dangerous’ overcrowding in its terminals.

A passenger today said he missed his flight at Heathrow as he queued for check-in and security – despite arriving four hours before his departure time.

Gatwick passengers also reported trouble this morning, with one holidaymaker saying their flight was delayed for more than 24 hours, ‘ruining their holiday’.

In Edinburgh, a furious traveler called the situation a ‘mess’ as he tweeted a photo of a jam-packed baggage claim area, writing: ‘This is the capital airport… no staff at the airport. ground when we arrived, queues everywhere, a convoluted walkway…you have to pull yourself together!’

And things could soon get worse as airline workers join Britain’s summer of strikes, including refueling staff, who are set to leave for three days from next week.

The walkout will take place at the start of the summer school holidays and will affect the airlines Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and KLM.

Spanish workers at EasyJet and Ryanair are also threatening to go on strike, which could wreak even more havoc on Britons’ holiday plans.

Heathrow was already under fire this week after taking the drastic decision to limit the number of daily departing passengers to 100,000 until at least September 11.

Others complained of problems at Heathrow and Gatwick this morning

Others complained of problems at Heathrow and Gatwick this morning

Why does Heathrow impose a daily passenger cap?

Airlines were able to take advantage of a government program that allowed them to cancel summer flights without losing future rights to valuable take-off and landing slots.

But even with this measure, Heathrow believes airlines still planned to operate flights carrying 4,000 more daily passengers than could be handled acceptably.

Heathrow said: “On average, only around 1,500 of these 4,000 daily seats have currently been sold to passengers, and we are therefore asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers. .

“We recognize that this will mean some summer travel will either be moved to another day, another airport or canceled and we apologize to those whose travel plans are affected.

“But it’s the right thing to do to provide better, more reliable travel and to keep everyone working at the airport safe.”

Heathrow insisted the capacity cap is “in line with limits implemented at other airports”.

He added that airlines have “discretion as to how they implement this into their individual schedules”.

Under the new plans, the number of daily flights to and from Heathrow will be capped at 1,100 until August 31.

The figure will then climb to 1,150 between September 1 and 30, before reaching 1,200 between October 1 and 29.

In the pre-pandemic era, Heathrow handled 1,350 flights a day.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy PC Agency, said: ‘These new limits on the number of flights will lead many to wonder why Heathrow is unable to get its staffing crisis under control before October at the earliest.

“Consumers will be concerned about booking mid-term journeys if they know that Heathrow continues to limit passenger numbers towards the end of the year.”

The airport defended limiting its hours “to ensure safe and continuous operation and to mitigate the risk of uncontrolled increases in demand leading to potentially dangerous levels of congestion or overcrowding”.

He added: “Over the past few weeks Heathrow has had to deploy contingencies to prevent security events and overcrowding at terminals, including access control/call forwarding required to ensure the safe management of passengers queuing in landside areas.”

The measures were blamed on “ever higher levels of absence and reliance on overtime within the Heathrow team”, meaning “there is volatility in resourcing levels, which impacts resilience, safety, passenger experience and performance.”

The Telegraph reported that airlines had received legal letters, warning them they could face “restricted use or no further use of the airport” if they failed to cancel flights.

An airport source told the newspaper: ‘There are legal avenues we can use. As part of the license to operate at Heathrow, airlines must run a safe and resilient schedule.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary says UK workers will not fill post-Covid staff shortages blamed for airport chaos

Brits don’t want to be baggage handlers, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said amid staff shortages and planned strikes at Heathrow Airport.

The budget airline was ‘completely unaffected’ by airport chaos this summer, which saw other UK airlines cancel thousands of flights in part due to a lack of staff.

By contrast, Mr O’Leary said Ryanair was prepared for a return to pre-Covid travel levels as it could see the “recovery coming” and got its staff back to work sooner.

He also claimed that unlike his competitors, his Irish business could take advantage of the European labor market and not be faced with British workers who did not want to “pick fruit or work in hospitality, security and material handling”. luggage at airports”.

He added: “I’m not reviving the Brexit campaign, but the UK is going to have to find a way to open up the labor market between the UK and Europe, to get people here to do the work which, frankly, the British don’t want to do.

“They don’t want to pick fruit, they don’t want to do agricultural work, they don’t want to do reception, security or baggage handling at airports.”

It comes after a furious blame game erupted this week between Heathrow Airport and airline bosses over the chaos that has crippled much of Britain’s aviation sector.

Airport chairman Lord Deighton rushed to defend chief executive John Holland-Kaye after travel chiefs criticized Heathrow for failing to prepare for the summer period.

Former British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh has slammed the airport for imposing an initial flight cap to curb queues, baggage delays and cancellations that will affect 100,000 holidaymakers a day until in September, and even called for Mr. Holland-Kaye to be fired if the chaos continues into next year.

But turning against Mr Walsh, Lord Deighton accused BA bosses of overseeing ‘a decade of cuts’ before ‘being reshaped as a service organization by his new team’.

He also blamed the disruption on Covid-era mass layoffs and pay cuts for baggage handlers – who typically earn between £15,000 and £28,000 – imposed by airlines during the pandemic.

“Ground handling is a highly competitive, labour-intensive, low-margin business characterized by short-term contracts,” the former Treasury official wrote in the Telegraph.

“Airlines have cut costs over the years, and this was one of the first costs they cut during the pandemic.

“For months, ground handling companies have tried to recruit and train skilled workers, but if their airline customers are unwilling to pay market rates, they are unable to fill the positions.”

He added: “For months we have been asking airlines to keep their ground handling resources in balance with demand. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a shocking increase in the number of planes leaving without luggage and passengers whose flights have been canceled while they were already on board.

“That’s why we intervened in passengers and put a cap on departures – just like Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Gatwick and many other airports around the world.”

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