Saturday, June 10, 2023

Heathrow orders last-minute cancellations affecting 10,000 passengers

Sixty-one flights were axed as the west London airport did not believe it could have handled the expected number of passengers.

• July 11, 2022
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow International Airport

In Britain, Heathrow Airport ordered the cancellation of dozens of flights at short notice on Monday, affecting around 10,000 passengers.

Sixty-one flights were axed as the west London airport did not believe it could have handled the expected number of passengers.

Airlines have been asked not to rebook affected travellers on alternative flights departing on Monday, with baggage system failures at Terminal 3 over the weekend resulting in hundreds of bags not being put on flights.

“We are expecting higher passenger numbers in Terminals 3 and 5 today than the airport currently has the capacity to serve, and so to maintain a safe operation, we have asked some airlines in Terminals 3 and 5 to remove a combined total of 61 flights from the schedule.

“We apologise for the impact to travel plans, and we are working closely with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked on to other flights,” a spokesperson for the airport said.

Affected passengers are not entitled to compensation from airlines as the reason for the cancellation is considered outside their control.

The measure caused Virgin Atlantic to cancel two arrivals and one departure on Monday.

“Unfortunately, Heathrow’s mandated capacity reduction means that we have had to cancel three Virgin Atlantic flights due to operate,” the airline said.

The cancellations are on top of previous schedule reductions already implemented by airlines.

Earlier on Monday, Heathrow warned it would ask carriers to cut more flights if it does not believe their actions will sufficiently reduce disruption.

The airport admitted that the punctuality of arriving flights is “very low”, and there have been “periods in recent weeks where service levels have not been acceptable.

Problems, according to Heathrow, include “long queue times, delays for passengers with reduced mobility (and) bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late.”

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said, “We have already seen times recently when demand exceeds the capacity of the airport, airlines and ground handlers.

“We will review the schedule changes that airlines have submitted in response to the government’s requirement to minimise disruption for passengers this summer and will ask them to take further action if necessary.”

The number of passengers who travelled through Heathrow during the first half of the year was 26 million, which is more than six times higher than the same period in 2021.


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