The decision is taken to minimise the risk of disruption during the winter and will mainly affect short-haul flights, according to the British company, which assured that travellers affected would be offered an alternative.
Already affected by flight cancellations during the summer, Heathrow will welcome fewer passengers this winter. British Airways, the third-largest European airline, has announced that it will cut 10,000 passengers to and from the London airport between the end of October and March. Most of the cancellations will be on routes with other daily services to the same destinations, the company said in a statement. A total of 290 return flights are expected to be operated daily by British Airways this winter.
“After Heathrow’s decision to extend its limits of passengers carried” to 100,000 per day due to staff shortages, we are adjusting our short-haul flight schedule“, justified the company. “Customers booked for the winter will be able to travel as planned and will be notified several months in advance of any changes,” it added.
These cancellations come just a few weeks after the chaos observed on site, due in particular to the lack of staff. Overwhelmed by the resumption of air traffic after the Covid-19 crisis, the airport was unable to make up for its shortage of employees. Its CEO, John Holland-Kaye also points to the lack of “ground managers employed by airlines to staff check-in, load and unload and prepare planes for take-off“.
However, British Airways’ announcement should not impact users, according to aviation consultant John Strickland. Asked by the BBC, he says the number of cancelled flights seems to be “very negligible” compared to the company’s activity. “At this stage, the cancellations are likely to inconvenience very few people and I do not expect any noticeable impact on prices,” he added confidently.