Fears of more summer travel chaos as UK airport ‘won’t cope’ with demand, says airline boss | The Sun

THE boss of British Airways' airline operator has warned that an airport could fail to cope with demand again this summer.

Last year, families faced huge airport queues, delayed flights and lost luggage as people headed abroad for the first time in years due to the pandemic.

And the chief executive of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) Luis Gallego, who owns BA, said he was “worried” that Heathrow won't be able to cope with continued demand this summer.

He said: "In the past, the numbers that Heathrow forecast [have been] far away from the reality."

BA boss Sean Doyle added that the forecast was around "10 million below" the real number of passengers last year.

He continued: "The problem with under-forecasting is that you don’t plan appropriately, so I think we need to have a very realistic forecast about the recovery and resource accordingly."

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IAG said they expect capacity to be almost back to normal, with around 96 per cent of the levels since pre-Covid.

Airlines are also introducing new measures to prevent more travel problems this summer.

Wizz Air boss Jozsef Varadi said they would have more planes and crew on standby, while also reducing mandatory shift hours to prevent crew hitting their travel limits.

He said: “Everyone had their fingers burnt during the summer. I think it is in everyone’s interest we improve."

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And easyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: "We should not be complacent but it certainly looks a lot better."

However a Heathrow Airport spokesperson said that February half-term travel operated with very little issue, while passengers were travelling through security with very little delay.

They told Sun Online Travel: "Our passengers can see for themselves that we’re ready.

"We’ve successfully met the year’s first peaks and are focused on continuing to work collaboratively with all partners to provide the world-class experience at Heathrow that our passengers expect."

Last year, Heathrow introduced a number of flight caps to prevent travel chaos.

In July 2022, the airport capped passenger capacity at 100,000 a day, resulting in 1,000 cancelled flights.

This was down from a daily passenger number of 104,000.

This was then extended through the summer holidays and to the end of October, also affecting the half term.

The cap was eventually lifted on October 29.

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While the airport has not announced any flight caps for this summer, Heathrow will not allow airlines to add extra flights to their schedules during the peak season.

According to the FT, airlines will not be allowed to increase their schedule even if spare slots are available to "protect [airport] operations".

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