June 15, 2024

Heathrow to end passenger cap but warns of targeted restrictions

Heathrow Airport has confirmed that its current passenger cap of 100,000 passengers a day will end at the end of October. 

But while the blunt cap will be lifted on October 29, there could still be some target restrictions in place over the winter months on certain peak days, times and routes. 

The airport is currently talking to airlines about their plans for the winter season and if pinch points are identified, airlines might be asked to scale back. 

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Our focus has always been on removing the cap as quickly as possible – but we will only do so if we are confident that adding in more passengers will not erode the service levels that the cap has secured. 

“We continue to work with all of our airline partners ahead of the winter season to ensure a smooth operation for our passengers.” 

The spokesman said the airport has been scaling up its security and ground handling teams and also assisting its airline partners with hiring. 

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye had earlier warned it could take until March 2023 for staff numbers to reach levels where they can meet the demand for spring and summer. 

BTA CEO Clive Wratten said: “Heathrow Airport’s decision to lift the passenger cap at the end of the October is some much-needed good news for business travellers and our sector which supports them.

“September and October have been hampered by fewer flights during the vitally important post-Summer business period, and the removal of the cap will enable business travel to grow again. As a direct result, business travellers have been faced with an up to 30% increase on the cost of their flights compared to pre-pandemic prices.” 

Amsterdam Schiphol has extended its cap until March 2023.