HEATHROW’S cap on flights will last until after the October half-term, it was reported last night.
Airlines are believed to have been told by Britain’s biggest airport it will curb flights until October 29 due to staff shortages.
The decision could cause significant disruptions into the autumn – coming off the back of a summer of hell at Britain’s airports.
Heathrow is also cautioning airlines they could take legal action against those that fail to reduce the capacity of their flights, according to The Telegraph.
Despite huge numbers of flights being cancelled by airlines, Heathrow also announced last week they are imposing a 100,000 person cap on departing passengers.
The airport has even ordered airlines to consider booting holidaymakers off flights to bring an end to the travel mayhem plaguing Britain this summer.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency, said: “These further limits on flight numbers will lead many to question why Heathrow is unable to get a grip on its staffing crisis before October at the earliest.
“Consumers will be concerned about booking half-term trips if they know that Heathrow is continuing to limit passenger numbers towards the end of the year.”
Both outboard and inbound flights will be significantly capped in the coming months, according to The Telegraph.
The cap will be set at 1,000 from July 11 to August 31, which will only rise by 50 flights for the months of September and October.
Before the pandemic, Heathrow had 1,350 flights a day.
The airport has reportedly began employing “contingency” plans to prevent “dangerous” overcrowding, with new measures put in place intended to protect passenger safety.
Heathrow said the schedules needed to be limited “to ensure a continued safe operation and to mitigate risk of uncontrolled demand increases leading to potentially dangerous levels of congestion or crowding”.
It added: “During the last few weeks, Heathrow has had to deploy contingencies to avoid safety events and overcrowding in the terminals including access control/call forward required to ensure the safe management of passengers queueing in landside areas.”
Airlines have reportedly been warned they will face “restricted usage or no further usage of the airport” if they do not cancel flights.
SUMMER OF STRIKES
The shock decision comes as airline staff continue to join Britain’s summer of strikes.
Tens of thousands of holiday-goers are at risk of having their flights ruined as several airline staffers threaten to walk out on strike, including EasyJet and Ryanair staffers in Spain.
Refuelling staff are also striking, with firms refuelling Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and KLM services set to walk out for three days starting on Thursday next week.