O “Summer of Air Travel Chaos” in Europe is set to extend into the autumn, as London Heathrow Airport will extend its passenger capacity limit until the end of October.
Overcrowding and staff shortages were among the factors that contributed to longer-than-expected wait times at airport security, lost luggage, delayed and canceled flights and other obstacles, as many travelers eagerly departed on their first post-pandemic vacation.
Amid the summer tourist crowd, Heathrow limited passenger traffic at the airport to 100,000 departures a day until 9/11.
Now, however, the airport will extend this restriction until at least October 29.
“We want to remove the cap as quickly as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to provide the service our passengers deserve,” Heathrow COO Ross Baker said in a statement. Press conference.
The October 29 date covers the UK school semester, a popular holiday period.
According to the air travel intelligence firm OAG, around 761,756 people passed through Heathrow in the week of May 16, 2022. It was the first time that Heathrow had won the title of the world’s busiest airport since the start of the pandemic.
The same report also noted that air traffic to Western Europe has tripled since the same period in 2019.
In his announcement, the Heathrow representative noted that several other airports such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol and London Gatwick have also imposed limits on the number of passengers.
However, the Amsterdam airport cap is about controlling emissions as part of a longer project to reduce air pollution, not because of the stress of summer travel.
But what does this mean for travelers?
As CNN’s Maureen O’Hare previously reported, it won’t be up to individual guests to navigate the passenger limit on their own.
Instead, the responsibility will fall on the airlines.
People who have already booked their tickets should assume their reservations are confirmed unless they receive information directly from the airline about changes or cancellations.
They will also be able to rebook, although flights are already full and some airlines are likely to reduce their flight times. It is likely that the reduced number of available seats and the possible panic of travelers rushing to secure reservations could lead to considerable increases in fares.
Another thing to note: according to Heathrow, it’s possible the cap could be lifted before October 29 if there is a “sustained picture of better resilience and a material increase in resource levels.”
Source: CNN Brasil