British Airways has suspended ticket sales for short-haul flights departing from Heathrow until August 8 following an announcement by the London Airport’s choice to reduce capacity and address the issue of widespread disruption and cancellations.
The airline claimed that the sales suspension for flights to domestic or European locations was designed to permit customers who are already on the plane to change flights as needed.
Airports and airlines all over Britain as well as Europe have had a difficult time dealing with the surge in travel after the lockdown and many of them failing to hire enough staff to manage check-ins and baggage.
Heathrow along with Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, has instructed airlines to restrict the number of tickets that they sell during the summer months, following it set a limit on the number of passengers that fly through Heathrow to 100,000 a day, to avoid the number of lines, baggage delays, and cancellations.
Heathrow announced this week the caps brought about a dramatic improvement in punctuality as well as baggage handling.
One industry expert said it was good news for consumers as it will allow airlines to ensure that passengers who booked their flights confirmed would remain able to fly according to schedule.
Julia Lo Bue Said – the executive director of the trade body Advantage Travel Partnership – told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “It is positive news for customers. It’s like a contradiction to think that an airline is cutting seats during the peak of its business however, it’s really about strengthening resilience, making sure there’s less disruption” as well as less danger for people that have made reservations.
The airline had earlier reacted to the cap on passenger numbers at Heathrow by announcing that it would end 10,300 flights by October, with one millions of passengers affected.
The move does not block BA from accessing the lucrative market for last-minute flights during peak seasons, Lo Bue-Said claimed that it was a temporary solution to satisfy demand from consumers while minimizing disruptions.
Emirates in the last month rebuffed Heathrow’s decision to cancel flights to ensure compliance with the limit. The airport was accused by the airline of being a victim of “blatant disregard for consumers” in its attempt to oblige it to “deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers”.
A Heathrow spokesperson told the time that it was “disappointing” if any airline “would want to put profit ahead of a safe and reliable passenger journey”.
Virgin Atlantic also criticised the airport’s activities and claimed it was the cause of mistakes that led to chaos.
Airlines on the 21st of July was accused on 21 July by passengers on the 21st of July, they had engaged in “harmful practices” in their treatment of passengers who were affected by disruptions.
The Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority issued a joint letter to airlines informing them with the risk that “consumers could experience significant harm unless airlines meet their obligations”.
The month before, BA check-in staff at Heathrow threatened to strike over wages. A compromise was reached to reinstate the 10% cut in pay which was introduced during the pandemic.