Heathrow introduces capacity cap to ease congestion

Heathrow introduces capacity cap to ease congestion

UK’s largest airport instructs airlines to stop selling summer tickets

London Heathrow airport has ordered airlines to stop selling flights for the rest of the summer peak and has imposed a daily cap of 100,000 departing passengers until 11 September 2022.

In an open letter to airlines and passengers, London Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “At Heathrow, we have seen 40 years of passenger growth in just four months. Despite this, we managed to get the vast majority of passengers away smoothly on their journeys through the Easter and half-term peaks.

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“This was only possible because of close collaboration and planning with our airport partners including airlines, airline ground handlers and Border Force. New colleagues are learning fast but are not yet up to full speed. However, there are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under-resourced, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turn around aircraft.

“However, over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers have regularly exceeded 100,000 a day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable: long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations.”


Airlines operating at Heathrow had until 8 July to cancel summer flights without losing the rights to slots for next summer.

The Heathrow CEO added: “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.”

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