As the winter season approaches, mixed signals are emerging regarding travel in Europe. While Heathrow Airport in London is reducing its short-haul flight schedule by over 10,000 between now and March, Gatwick Airport, located close by, is lifting its limits on the number of daily flights.
After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, people in Europe were ready to fly this summer, but staff shortages at major airports caused chaos in the form of lengthy queues, delayed baggage, and cancelled flights. To alleviate the travel chaos during the previous few months, airports like Heathrow, Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and Gatwick imposed limits on the daily number of passengers and flights.
Although Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, has agreed to keep its daily passenger cap at 100,000 till the end of October, rival Gatwick just announced that it would not be renewing its daily flight limits.
British Airways cancelled 629 short-haul round-trip flights over the next two months as a result of Heathrow’s extension. The airline will also cancel 10,000 flights from and to Heathrow in the United Kingdom and Europe between now and the end of the month.
The company said that customers impacted by these changes would be offered a refund or rebooking with British Airways or another airline. A statement included, “we are protecting important vacation destinations, and the great majority of our customers will go as scheduled.”
As a result of Heathrow’s passenger cap, the airline has cancelled thousands of more flights.
At the same time, Gatwick, Britain’s second-largest airport, claimed it had progressively boosted passenger capacity and hired more than 400 more security personnel to cut down on wait times.
Airport authorities have stated that further restriction of flight programmes is not required since “more resources throughout the Gatwick operation are in place.”
During July and August, it decreased its flying schedule to 825 from the reported 900 daily flights before the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, Gatwick anticipates 32.8 million passengers. However, the airport did caution that the final results may be affected by the unknowns of rising inflation and passenger demand this winter.