Heathrow begins to recover from travel chaos, says airport boss | Economic news

Heathrow is beginning to recover from the travel chaos of recent months, according to the airport’s chief executive.

Air travelers across the UK have faced months of disruption, with flights delayed and canceled and long waits at check-in, security and baggage collection.

The main reason for the problems is the lack of staff.

Many jobs were lost in the aviation industry at the height of the pandemic and there is now a race to recruit enough workers – and to train them and get them security cleared – to meet the demand for travel. summer.

Heathrow was among the hardest hit.

In an update on Thursday, chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Passengers are seeing better and more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap.

“I want to thank all of my colleagues at the airport for their incredible work keeping people away while on vacation.

“This has only been possible through the collective and determined efforts of the airport, airlines and wider Team Heathrow teams.”

In July – and at the top of a UK government amnesty which allowed airlines to cancel flights without fear of losing valuable take-off and landing slots – Heathrow imposed a cap on the number of departing passengers to build resilience.

He also called on airlines to stop selling tickets for summer travel, a plea that was met with criticism from certain circlesincluding former boss of BA IAG owner Willie Walsh, who is now head of the International Air Transport Association.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
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Passengers have sometimes faced long queues this summer
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There were problems with baggage handling. Photo: Deborah Haynes

Heathrow said on Thursday that capping numbers had “improved the passenger experience, with fewer last-minute flight cancellations, better on-time flight performance and baggage delivery”.

It has seen the biggest increase in passenger numbers of any European airport over the past year – more than six million people passed through Heathrow in July and around 16 million are expected between July and September.

A review is underway on ground handling capacity, 1,300 additional workers have been hired and security has returned to pre-pandemic levels, meaning 88% of passengers can be cleared in 20 minutes or less , said the airport.

Last month, an analysis by Oxford Economics, working with aviation trade bodies, showed that 2.3 million jobs had been lost in airlines, airports and civilian aerospace groups since the COVID-19 outbreak.

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