Last week, British Airways announced further cancelled flights to and from Heathrow until the end of October 2022. The British national carrier has also modified its route network for the coming winter season. As a result, over 10,000 flights have been cancelled. Which routes have British Airways cancelled and what are the reasons for these decisions?
The necessity of cancelling hundreds of flights is a result of a lack of staff at Heathrow airport, and these have not been filled to pre-COVID-19 levels. Due to a lack of baggage and ticketing staff, as well as security and cleaning personnel, management at the airport has introduced a limit of 100,000 passengers processed daily. Initially, this was supposed to be until September 11th 2022 but has now been extended until October 29th 2022.
Due to the fact that the majority of flights to and from Heathrow airport are operated by British Airways, the airline has decided to limit the network of connections in order to comply with the applicable limits. As a consequence, the British carrier cancelled approximately 30,000 flights in the period from April to August 2022. However, these measures have turned out to be insufficient. Therefore, in early August, British Airways suspended the sale of tickets on short-haul flights departing from Heathrow for two weeks.
According to airport authorities, the situation in Heathrow has got better. “Since the introduction of the limit, passenger travel has improved. There are fewer last-minute cancellations, improved punctuality and shorter waiting times for luggage”, the release reads.
However, the staff shortages which would allow the abolition of the quotas have still not been filled. For this reason, British Airways has taken steps to further limit its route network.
According to BA's decision, 629 flights to and from London Heathrow will be cancelled by the end of October. These are to be mainly short domestic and European routes, which are also served by other carriers on a daily basis. However, this is not the end. Fearing further disruptions in the winter season, BA will cancel 10,000. connections in the period from October to March 2023.
BA officials hope this will help them avoid being forced to cancel flights at the last minute. Will such action actually allow them to avoid later disturbances? We'll see.
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