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Global Economy

Heathrow imposes a passenger limit

London's Heathrow Airport is introducing a limit on the number of departing passengers. It is to apply until September 11 and provides for an upper limit of 100,000 passengers per day, as Managing Director John Holland-Kaye announced in an open letter today. He called on airlines not to sell new tickets for this period.

According to Holland-Kaye, there are some crucial functions at the airport that are understaffed, particularly ground handling. For example, the companies in question lack employees at check-in or baggage handling.

"With regularly more than 100,000 passengers a day on departures, we have had phases in which the service has slipped below an acceptable level," wrote the Heathrow boss. These included long waits, delays for vulnerable passengers, lost luggage, delays and last-minute flight cancellations.

Problems about problems

In addition to the numerous layoffs in the course of the corona pandemic, employees are also repeatedly absent at short notice due to infections. There were also technical problems that prevented luggage from being loaded onto the aircraft.

Just yesterday, Heathrow Airport ordered airlines to cancel dozens of flights due to congestion. The airlines were also asked not to rebook passengers on other flights. About 10,000 passengers were affected by the orders. An airport spokesman said travelers were not entitled to compensation from their airline because they were not to blame for the cancellation. The airport had previously warned airlines might have to cancel more flights. The punctuality of landings is "very low".

In the first half of the year, Heathrow had 26 million travelers, six times as many as in the same period last year. According to Holland-Kaye, the airport experienced 40 years of growth in four months. However, the airport still handled almost 81 million passengers in 2019 – an average of almost 222,000 per day.

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