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Heathrow recovering from travel chaos as July numbers exceed 6 million

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2 min read
Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Heathrow says the travel chaos is now in the past. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Over 6 million people travelled through Heathrow as travel rebounds with the airport’s chief executive saying that the passenger cap made journeys more reliable.

The UK’s busiest airport now expects about 16 million passengers to travel through between July and September.

Some 6.3 million people used the airport in July, up from 1.5 million in the same month a year ago when COVID measures all but grounded airplanes. About 7.75 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in July 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The airport said it seen had “the largest rise in passenger numbers of any European airport in the last year”.

Read more: FTSE 250: TUI takes £63m hit from travel chaos

Heathrow also stated that there had been fewer last minute flight cancellations after it capped the number of departures in July to cope with disruptions amid a shortage of staff that left passengers facing long waits at check-in, security and baggage collection.

"Passengers are seeing better, more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap,” chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

"I want to thank all my colleagues across the airport for their amazing work in getting people away on their holidays,” he added.

Heathrow last month limited the number of passengers able to use the airport to 100,000 per day, down from 104,000 originally scheduled for the summer. The cap will remain in place until September 11.

On top of the cap, Heathrow asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets, which led to criticism from within the aviation sector.

The former boss of BA owner IAG, Willie Walsh, who is now director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – a body representing global airlines, accused the airport of trying to maximise profits during a difficult travel period at the expense of airlines.

Read more: Travel chaos as airlines given green light to axe flights

He told Reuters: "To tell airlines to stop selling – what a ridiculous thing for an airport to say to an airline.

"Heathrow are trying to maximise the profitability that they get from the airport at the expense of airlines."

Emirates Airlines had initially rejected Heathrow's request to cut flight capacity, accusing the west London airport of showing “blatant disregard for consumers” by attempting to force it to “deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers”. However, it later agreed to cap sales following talks between the two companies.

Heathrow results come at a time when Ryanair (RYA.IR) warns that the era of the €10 ticket is over.

The airline's average fare would rise from around €40 (£33.75) last year to roughly €50 over the next five years, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Watch: Airline refunds: What are your rights as a consumer?