London Heathrow to Lift 100K Daily Passenger Cap
Airports Passenger Experience

London Heathrow to Lift 100K Daily Passenger Cap

DALLAS – London Heathrow Airport (LHR), the UK and Europe’s busiest airport, is set to cut the daily passenger cap that was initially imposed on July 13, 2022.

With high passenger demand and labor shortages, the executives at LHR introduced a temporary cap on daily passenger traffic with the intention of reducing the occurrence of long delays, baggage misplacements, and an overall poor passenger experience.

The expiration of this measure was scheduled for September. On October 3, 2022, the airport confirmed that the cap will end on October 29, 2022.

Airports worldwide faced many adversities when passenger traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels, especially in the summer months. Unfortunately, the revival of the long-awaited passenger demand surfaced amid labor and supply chain shortages brought on by COVID-19, thus creating the now infamous Summer of Chaos.

Photo: LHR

Comments from London Heathrow CEO

London Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye expressed in July that the airport witnessed what amounted to 40 years of passenger growth in just four months amid understaffed issues in crucial airport areas such as baggage handling, security, and ground staff.

Holland-Kaye also noted that when the daily passenger count exceeded 100,000, service issues were exacerbated. In fact, according to the Heathrow spokesperson, the implementation of the cap ” resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality, and a shorter wait for bags.”

Emirates A6-ENQ Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Sean Brink/Airways

Cap-affected Airlines

The schedules for several airlines were also impacted, including Emirates (EK) and Etihad (EY). The airlines were instructed to discontinue selling tickets to LHR to cramp passenger traffic. Initially, the request was met with backlash, as EK stated that too many customers would be affected by this measure.

The airline later agreed to stop pausing ticket sales until mid-August along with “capacity adjustments” on flights to Heathrow to aid in easing operation pressures felt by the airport. EY, on the other hand, modified its schedule so that flights would take off at different times and hence, prevent periods of passenger congestion.

The removal of the cap implies that LHR will experience an uncapped winter travel season. However, the capacity will be handled with a different approach that will protect airline schedules but restrict any changes to peak periods.

Featured image: LHR

From residing in the Caribbean, Tarik has developed an interest in studying how developing nations benefit from the presence of the aviation industry through tourism, trade, and other linkages. Based in Jamaica.

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