British Airways suspended sales of short-haul flights from London’s Heathrow airport on Tuesday.reporting that it took the action in response to a request from the airport itself that they be limited in order to alleviate problems caused by a combination of strong demand for flights and lack of staff.
The suspension applies to new bookings to domestic UK and European destinations departing from Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport.
British Airways said the measure applies only to short-haul flights, generally defined as those lasting up to three hours. That would save flights to cities like Manchester, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Zurich.
The airline initially said the suspension would cover flights through Monday, but later extended it to a week. Flights from Heathrow to UK and European cities were only available from August 16, according to searches on the British Airways website. Passengers, however, will still be able to book short flights to the airport.
The airline indicated that it took the actions in response to Heathrow’s limit of 100,000 daily passenger departures until September 11.. The airport asked companies to stop selling tickets and reduce flights, drawing strong criticism.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport said it will extend its daily passenger limit until October.
Passenger traffic at European airports has soared after two years of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, but airports and companies have been unable to keep up as they laid off thousands of workers at the height of the crisis. of health. Heathrow and Schiphol have been among the hardest hit.
“As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we have decided to take responsible action and limit available passages on some services at Heathrow to help maximize rescheduling options for previous customers, given the restrictions placed on us. have imposed and the challenges that continue to face the entire aviation sector”British Airways said in a statement.
The airline said it was “proactively managing the situation”, including suspending sales on some dates so as not to exceed the limit.
This summer there have been frequent scenes of chaos at Heathrow, with long queues at security checkpoints and technical problems with the baggage claim system, leading to huge piles of lost and unclaimed bags.
The airport apologized last month to passengers whose travels were affected, saying service levels were unacceptable.
Initially, British Airways had responded to the passenger cap by canceling 10,300 flights through October. The airline’s parent company, International Consolidated Airlines Group, reported a quarterly profit of 293 million euros (245 million pounds) last week, its first profit since the pandemic began, citing a strong recovery in demand.
In Amsterdam, Schiphol said that after consulting with airlines, daily departing passengers will be capped at 67,500 in September and 69,500 in October. The limits would help the airport cope with certain “operational changes,” such as flight arrival or departure delays.
With AP information