London Heathrow Airport caps the number of passengers who can travel 100 daily!
In an open letter to passengers regarding the capacity limit, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
"The global aviation industry is recovering from the pandemic, but the legacy of COVID continues to put pressure on the entire sector as the number of trips increases. London Heathrow Airport has seen a sharp increase in the number of passengers in the last 4 months, equivalent to the last 40 years. Despite this, we were able to easily manage the large number of passengers, even during the busy Easter periods. This was only possible thanks to close collaboration and planning with our airport partners, including airlines, ground air carriers and the Border Force.
"We started recruiting in November last year, waiting for capacity to recover this summer, and by the end of July, we will have as many people working in security as we had before the pandemic. We also reopened and moved 25 airlines to Terminal 4 to provide more passenger space and expanded our passenger service team.
"New colleagues are learning fast, but they are not yet at full capacity. However, there are some essential functions at the airport that do not yet have significant resources, especially ground handling agencies, which are contracted by airlines to provide check-in, baggage loading and unloading and pushback staff. They do everything they can with the available resources and we offer them as much support as possible, but this is a significant constraint on the overall capacity of the airport.
"However, in recent weeks, as the number of departing passengers has regularly exceeded 100.000 per day, we have begun to see periods when service drops to an unacceptable level: long waiting times, delays for passengers in need of assistance, luggage lost or delayed, low punctuality and last minute cancellations. This is due to a combination of factors, such as: low punctuality of arrivals (due to delays at other airports and in European airspace) and the increased number of passengers starting to exceed the combined capacity of airlines and the airport.
"Our assessment shows that the maximum number of passengers that depart daily and that airlines, ground handling agencies and the airport can serve collectively during the summer is 100.000. The latest forecasts indicate that we had an average of 104.000 passengers a day, a daily excess of 4000 seats. On average, only about 1500 of these 4000 daily seats were sold last minute to passengers, and we therefore ask our partner airlines to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers.
"By doing this intervention now, our goal is to protect flights for the vast majority of Heathrow passengers this summer and to provide confidence that everyone traveling through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with luggage. We acknowledge that this will mean that some summer trips will either be moved to another day, another airport, or canceled, and we apologize to those whose travel plans are affected.
At the same time, passengers are asked to ensure that they meet all travel requirements, that they have all the necessary documents for the country of destination, especially COVID-19 documents where required. Passengers are asked not to arrive at the airport earlier than three hours before the flight. Have properly packed hand luggage and observe the transport of liquids, be prepared if they have a laptop and other technological equipment. Every second gained at checkpoints counts!