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British Airways has suspended the sale of tickets for short flights departing from London Heathrow after the airport asked airlines to limit new bookings.
In a statement on Tuesday, the airline said the move – which will run until August 8 – was taken in response to a request from Heathrow Airport.
“We have decided to take responsible action and set the rates available for certain Heathrow Airport services to help increase rebooking options for existing customers, given the limitations imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire airline industry,” the statement read.
Heathrow expressed delight that its largest airline had fulfilled the request: “We are pleased to see a move by British Airways, acting responsibly and putting passengers first.”
Europe’s largest airport by number of passengers has announced that it will impose a cap of 100,000 departing passengers per day on July 12 as the airline industry continues to face a whole host of challenges.
Baggage did not reach the correct destinations, throngs of staff staged strikes, and pilots were in “absolute chaos” as they tried to cover the team’s shortage, according to industry insiders.
Heathrow said its decision to limit passenger numbers was taken “in the interest of passengers” to provide “better and more reliable flights this summer”.
The capacity cap will be in effect until September 11th.
There were between 110,000 and 125,000 passengers per day from Heathrow in July and August 2019.
The UK’s second-largest airport, Gatwick, told CNBC that it was “up to the airlines to cancel or suspend flights”, but that it was “not currently aware of any airline planning similar moves”.
Rest of Europe
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Europe’s third largest, also announced a number of passenger caps over the summer.
“The purpose of setting a cap is to ensure the safety of passengers and staff and to create a reliable operation at the airport,” the airport said in a statement.
“All efforts are focused on keeping the consequences for travelers to a minimum.”
Currently, a maximum of 73,000 passengers can leave the Dutch airport, but that number will drop to 67,500 in September. This will then rise to 69,500 in October.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Frankfurt am Main, Germany’s largest airport, told CNBC that there were “no plans to limit the number of passengers or flights” but that there was a “continuous and intense exchange with [its] Partners at Frankfurt Airport to be better prepared for the ongoing summer traffic.”