London’s Heathrow airport is imploring airlines to stop selling tickets as it is unable to handle the high demand, having been forced to lay off staff during the pandemic which currently results in a shortage of manpower.
With the rebound in travel, Britain’s busiest airport has recently been plagued with snaking queues to get pass security checks, delays in helping passengers with reduced mobility, and lost luggage, among other troubles.
“We are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers,” said John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow. “Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe that further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey.”
Therefore, the airport decided to implement a 100,000 daily passenger cap between 12 July and 11 September. Heathrow states that the cap is not all that different from limits implemented at other airports in the continent, such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol which capped passenger numbers at 16% below 2019 levels, and Frankfurt’s reduction of flights at peak times from 104 to 94 per hour.
Heathrow started actively recruiting last November in preparation for the rebound in travel especially during summer 2022, and expects its manpower to be back in full force by end July this year. The airport has also reopened Terminal 4 to allocate more space for passengers.