Managers at London's main airport announced they were imposing a 100,000-daily-passenger cap in a move to curb traveler lines and luggage delays amid recurrent cancellations and other nuisances. Heathrow serves 203 destinations in 84 countries.
The air terminal used to handle 110,000 and 125,000 daily passenger departures in July and August 2019 and is now taking measures to avoid large crowds out of sanitary concerns regarding covid-19 among other reasons.
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, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in an open letter Tuesday. We have therefore made the difficult decision to introduce a capacity cap with effect from 12 July to 11 September, he added.
We recognize that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be canceled and we apologize to those whose travel plans are affected, he went on.
The authorities said the cap was in-line with limits implemented at Schiphol in Amsterdam and also at Frankfurt International. Heathrow stressed the average number of outbound seats still remaining in the summer schedules was 104,000 a day, 4,000 above its cap.
We are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers, Holland-Kaye insisted. British Airways, Heathrow's biggest customer, has already cut thousands of flights from its schedules this summer due to staff shortages. Heathrow on Monday apologized for the long queues and baggage issues, blaming staff shortages across the whole aviation sector.
Our objective is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers at Heathrow this summer and to give confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags, the airport's operators said in a statement.
Passengers traveling through Heathrow have been advised by tour operators to keep an eye on their itineraries and to know about their alternatives in advance.