Following consultation with airlines, Heathrow has confirmed it will extend the existing limits on the airport’s capacity through to October 29, in an effort to provide passengers with confidence ahead of their half-term getaways.
In July 2022, Heathrow introduced temporary capacity limits to improve passenger journeys over the summer getaway. The airport has asserted that by better balancing passenger demand with available resources it is able to operate a safe airport ecosystem that prioritizes passenger needs. Since then, the cap has reportedly resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter waits for bags. However, the airport has also faced external backlash from airlines like Emirates and Ryanair. Other airports, like Schiphol, have also put in place capacity limits and extended them until October as pressures are felt across the aviation sector.
London Heathrow Airport’s limits will be kept under regular review and could be lifted earlier should there be a sustained picture of resilience and a material increase in resourcing levels. The airport has stated that it is a complex ecosystem with many organizations needing to work closely together.
To support efforts to build back resilience in the airport system, Heathrow launched a review of airline ground handling. As part of an overall review of the ecosystem, the airport will be working with airlines and ground handlers to understand how it can unlock more capacity in this critical part of the airport, enabling it to meet passenger demand in the months and years ahead.
Ross Baker, chief commercial officer at Heathrow, said, “Our primary concern is ensuring we give our passengers a reliable service when they travel. That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July which have already improved journeys during the summer getaway. We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve.”