Capacity restrictions at Heathrow to ease ‘dangerous’ overcrowding amid cancellations

Sunday 05 June 2022 17:51

HEATHROW Airport has asked airlines to cut peak-hour passenger numbers at the airport by a third to alleviate “dangerous levels of congestion” at various choke points at the airport.

The move comes amid unprecedented chaos at UK airports, with dozens of flights canceled in recent days due to staff shortages and logistical difficulties.

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, has asked airlines to keep passengers at two-thirds of the airport’s capacity. The hub said this did not mean currently booked passengers should be “cut off” from services, as it had already asked airlines to restrict sales.

There is a blame game going on between ministers and industry, with airlines and airports blaming the lack of government support during the pandemic for staff shortages today, due to the number of redundancies that they were forced to undertake during travel restrictions.

Yesterday, however, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said airlines had ‘cut too much’ at the worst of the crisis.

Shapps said he was against proposals to temporarily ease visa restrictions to allow foreign staff in the UK to fill recruitment gaps.
“The answer may not always be to press the lever marked ‘More immigration’,” he told the BBC yesterday.

“In fact, in Europe, they have exactly the same problems. If you look at the problems they are having in Amsterdam this weekend, there are problems all over Europe.

Shapps also took aim at airlines for overselling flights – a common industry practice that has been used for years to maximize revenue.
“Now we need the industry itself to step up. It’s very important that flights aren’t oversold, for example, and I want to make sure there’s automatic compensation for passengers. .

“We will be working very hard with the industry going into the summer to make sure we don’t see a repeat of these scenes.”
Easyjet cut 80 more flights yesterday “due to the continued challenging operating environment”.

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