Fears of more chaos in summer travel as UK airport ‘can’t handle’ demand, airline chief says

The head of British Airways has warned that the airport could once again be unable to keep up with demand this summer.

Last year, families faced huge queues at airports, flight delays and lost luggage as people traveled abroad for the first time in years due to the pandemic.

IAG boss warns Heathrow could fail to keep up with demand again this summer


IAG boss warns Heathrow could fail to keep up with demand again this summerCredit: Kevin Dunnett

And International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Luis Gallego, who owns BA, said he was “worried” that Heathrow could not handle continued demand this summer.

He said: “In the past, the numbers that Heathrow predicted (were) far from reality.”

BA boss Sean Doyle added that the forecast was about “10 million short” of the actual number of passengers last year.

He continued: “The problem with under-forecasting is that you don’t plan properly, so I think we need a very realistic forecast of recovery and resources accordingly.”

All about Heathrow Airport and its terminals
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The IAG said they expect capacity to nearly return to normal, at about 96% of pre-Covid levels.

Airlines are also introducing new measures to prevent new travel problems this summer.

Wizz Air boss Jozsef Varadi said they would have more planes and crew on standby, as well as reduced mandatory working hours to keep crew from exceeding their travel limits.

He said: “In the summer, everyone had burned fingers. I think everyone has an interest in us getting better.”

And easyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “We shouldn’t be complacent, but this certainly looks a lot better.”

However, a spokesman for Heathrow Airport said that February’s part-time flights went through without major problems, while passengers went through security checks with very little delay.

They told Sun Online Travel, “Our passengers can see for themselves that we are ready.

“We have successfully passed the first peaks of the year and are focused on continuing to work with all partners to deliver the world-class experience at Heathrow that our passengers have come to expect.”

Heathrow introduced a series of flight restrictions last year to prevent travel chaos.

In July 2022, the airport’s capacity was limited to 100,000 passengers per day, resulting in the cancellation of 1,000 flights.

This is compared to a daily ridership of 104,000 people.

This was then extended for the summer holidays and until the end of October, which also affected half of the term.

The restriction was eventually lifted on 29 October.

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Although the airport has not announced flight restrictions for this summer, Heathrow will not allow airlines to add extra flights to their peak season schedules.

In accordance with theftairlines will not be allowed to increase their schedule even if there are empty seats to “protect operations (airport)”.

Last summer, the British faced huge queues at airports due to a surge in demand.


Last summer, the British faced huge queues at airports due to a surge in demand.Credit: Reuters

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