London’s Heathrow Airport has asked airlines to discontinue summer sales as it struggles with staff shortages and delays.
A statement released on Tuesday explained that the airport cannot cope with surging passenger traffic that has regularly exceeded 100K per day with current staffing. Amid this rapid rise in travelers, service has fallen to “a level that is not acceptable” and safety has become a concern with many new hires struggling to keep up with the travel chaos.
“New colleagues are learning fast but are not yet up to full speed. However, there are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under-resourced, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft,” a statement from Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye explained.
“They are doing the very best they can with the resources available and we are giving them as much support as possible, but this is a significant constraint to the airport’s overall capacity.”
As such, the airport asked airlines for assistance in curbing the increasing passenger issues.
“Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe that further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey,” the statement read. “We have therefore made the difficult decision to introduce a capacity cap with effect from 12 July to 11 September.”
The new measures place a limit at 100K passengers per day, 4K below the current summer trend. Holland-Kaye advised that the airport is significantly upping its efforts to hire more staff, though he cautioned that this effort will take time.