Planning to visit London? You may have to wait until October

In an effort to meet the increasing demand for air travel while facing a personnel deficit, London’s Heathrow Airport announced on August 15 that it will extend its daily passenger cap until the end of October.

The airport, one of the busiest in Europe, stated that up to 100,000 passengers may depart each day until October 29. Initially, it was anticipated that the daily maximum would be raised on September 11.

Also Read: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw wants a ‘technology fix’ for baggage chaos at airports

In July, Heathrow imposed the interim cap and instructed airlines to halt selling tickets during the busiest travel period of the year, asserting that the anticipated volume of travellers would be beyond the capacity of the airport’s ground employees. The airport reported “fewer last-minute cancellations” and “shorter waits for bags” as a result of the temporary cap.

It added the capacity limits would be kept under review and “could be lifted earlier should there be a sustained picture of better resilience and a material increase in resourcing levels”.

Also Read: Why a top global airline is asking its executives to be baggage handlers

Numerous summer flights into and out of Heathrow have already been cancelled in recent months, and travellers have complained of protracted security lines, misplaced belongings, and extended flight delays.

After two years of COVID-19 travel limitations, the demand for summer travel has exploded, overwhelming European airlines and airports. During the pandemic, the industry had to lay off tens of thousands of pilots, cabin crew, check-in workers, ground crew, and baggage handlers.

Also Read: The best and worst airlines for flight cancellations

In June, it was reported that there were long airport waits and a growing number of bags were going missing. For travellers in Europe, it appeared that the summer would be hectic.

Liz Morgan arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport 4 1/2 hours before her flight to Athens, finding the line for security snaking out of the terminal and into a big tent along a road before doubling back inside the main building.

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“There’s elderly people in the queues, there’s kids, babies. No water, no nothing. No signage, no one helping, no toilets,” said Morgan, who is from Australia and had tried to save time Monday by checking in online and taking only a carry-on bag.

People “couldn’t get to the toilet because if you go out of the queue, you lost your spot,” she said.

(With AP inputs)

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