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Heathrow to extend passenger cap until the end of October

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After conferring with the airlines that utilize the busy West London airport, Heathrow Airport said on Monday that it would extend a controversial passenger cap until the end of October 2022.

The airport had intended to lift the daily quota of 100,000 passengers on September 11 at the end of the summer vacation for students. The airport had imposed the cap at the beginning of August.

The cap will now be extended until the end of October, which also marks the conclusion of the airline industry’s summer schedule, according to Heathrow.

Angry Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye suggested that if there was a “continued picture of enhanced resilience and a considerable rise in resourcing levels,” the airport may abolish the cap sooner.

The airport has been eager to shift responsibility for staffing shortages on certain airlines, arguing that these companies had not hired enough ground employees, such as luggage handlers and aircraft fuelers.

The airlines, not the airport, are in charge of managing these positions, but Heathrow asserts that the carriers have not provided pay that is alluring enough to fill a large number of openings.

Airline workers who lost their jobs at the outset of the pandemic have discovered that driving delivery trucks pays more, and they don’t want to work for a company that fired them so quickly when times were rough.

“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,” Heathrow’s chief commercial officer Ross Baker said on Monday.

“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.”

According to Baker, the cap has been successful in minimizing last-minute cancellations, boosting timeliness, and reducing the amount of lost luggage.

When it was first implemented, the capacity cap caused a lot of controversies, and Emirates first threatened to disregard the passenger limits. The airline based in Dubai claimed that it had employed enough ground personnel to meet its requirements and attributed the hiccup to Heathrow.

Although the two parties eventually came to a compromise agreement, other airlines are still suffering because of the capacity cap.

British Airways removed all of its short-haul flights from sale earlier this month in order to adhere to the restriction, and there were concerns that the purchasing prohibition would also apply to long-haul services.

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