AS many as 100,000 passengers could have their holiday plans ruined this summer after Heathrow introduced a new traveller cap.
The airport will only allow 100,000 people to pass through its doors each day for the next two months, with at least another 1,000 flights ordered to be cancelled.
The measures will remain in place until September 11, after being put in place on Monday.
According to numbers crunched by the Times, at least 91,500 people will be affected by the measures, as airlines were ordered to ground more flights.
Airport bosses also requested that carriers stop selling tickets for flights this summer.
The new rules have already hit thousands of people, with 61 flights cancelled immediately as a result on Monday.
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The airport said the cancellations were needed to make sure they could "maintain a safe operation" in their terminals.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said in a statement that the decision was made as the airport can only serve 100,000 as the "maximum number of daily departing passengers".
Exceeding this number, he warned, leads to "long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations".
He explained: "The latest forecasts indicate that even despite the amnesty, daily departing seats over the summer will average 104,000 – giving a daily excess of 4,000 seats.
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"On average only about 1,500 of these 4,000 daily seats have currently been sold to passengers, and so we are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers.
“By making this intervention now, our objective is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers at Heathrow this summer and to give confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags.
"We recognise that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be cancelled and we apologise to those whose travel plans are affected."
Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and former BA boss told Reuters that Heathrow has got things "completely wrong" this summer.
He said: "I am surprised Heathrow have not been able to get their act together better than this.
"Airlines have been predicting stronger traffic than Heathrow has been predicting … they clearly got it completely wrong."
Adding to the airport's problems is a planned strike for later this month.
Last week it was announced that industrial action will cause "considerable disruption" to thousands of family holidays.
Staff at Heathrow refuelling company Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) are threatening to walk out for three days.
The strikes will be from July 21 to July 24, affecting the first weekend of the summer holidays and millions of passengers heading abroad.
More than 70 airlines including Virgin, Delta and KLM are expected to be affected as the union fights for an end to their three year pay freeze with a double-digit pay rise.
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It's not just Heathrow that has been experiencing travel chaos, as passengers at Birmingham Airport also faced a lengthy wait.
And travel chaos continued at Gatwick Airport, with passengers complaining yesterday of lengthy queues, missing transport and even being locked in a stairwell.
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