AviationFrankfurt joins the growing list of European airports imposing arrival and departure limits in a bid to stabilise this summer's travel woes.

Feeling the pain, Frankfurt faces flight cuts

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Less is more for smooth landings; Frankfurt focuses on reducing capacity to manage service during its busiest travel months.
Less is more for smooth landings; Frankfurt focuses on reducing capacity to manage service during its busiest travel months. Photo Credit: GettyImages/AndreasWeber

Frankfurt Airport intends to reduce the number of take-off and landings at its facility to 88 movements per hour, the airport announced late last week.

The move comes after other airports, including Heathrow, have restricted the number of flights operated or the number of passenger departures in order to get a handle on service disruptions, which have mounted this summer amid strong travel demand.

Lufthansa Airlines CEO Jens Ritter welcomed the Frankfurt Airport decision, noting that even though the airport had increased the capacities of ground handling services, it still was "not sufficient due to a high sickness absence rate, even for the flight schedule that has already been reduced several times," he said in a statement.

The German carrier already had cancelled flights "in several waves" to relieve the overall system. "This has disappointed many thousand customers, caused enormous additional work for our employees and additional costs in the millions," Ritter said. "Other airlines flying to and from Frankfurt will now also contribute to an even reduction and stabilisation with flight cancellations."

Frankfurt reported that June was its busiest month since the pandemic started, with about 5 million passengers traveling through the German hub, a 181 percent increase year on year. Compared with 2019, however, passenger traffic still was down for the month by 24.1 percent.

Heathrow Compromise

Last week's announcement on capacity caps at Heathrow of 100,000 departures daily until 11 September caused Emirates to release a scathing rebuke of the decision. However, Emirates president Tim Clark and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye met 15 July to work out an arrangement.

"Emirates agreed the airline was ready and willing to work with the airport to remediate the situation over the next two weeks, to keep demand and capacity in balance and provide passengers with a smooth and reliable journey through Heathrow this summer," the two executives said in a joint statement. "Emirates has capped further sales on its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August … and is working to adjust capacity. In the meantime, Emirates flights from Heathrow operate as scheduled and ticketed passengers may travel as booked."

Other airports with capacity caps thus far include London's Gatwick, which in June announced a capacity cap of 825 flights per day for July and up to 850 per day in August to "align its growth trajectory with airlines and ground handler's resource capabilities," the airport said in a statement.

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport also in June announced maximums placed on departing passengers for July and August, varying by day, that would increase to 67,500 in July and to 72,500 in August.

Source: Business Travel News

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