Thursday, August 11, 2022

India-London flights feel the impact of Heathrow’s flight capacity restrictions

There are 102 direct flights a week between India and Heathrow airport: British Airways (41), Virgin Atlantic (21), Air India (33) and Vistara (seven)

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Virgin Atlantic cancelled its Delhi-London flight on July 14 and reports indicate that other airlines would do the same if Heathrow airport decides to continue with its decision to limit the number of passengers to one lakh a day. With a staff shortage going on at Heathrow, the decision in all likelihood will continue. There are 102 direct flights a week between India and Heathrow airport: British Airways (41), Virgin Atlantic (21), Air India (33) and Vistara (seven).

 “Due to mandatory flight capacity restrictions being implemented by Heathrow Airport on all airlines on Thursday 14 July, we’ve regrettably had to cancel one of our London Heathrow – New York (JFK) return services, operating as flight numbers VS45 and VS4 and our morning departure to Delhi, flight VS302,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement. Passengers were being rebooked on an alternative flight on the same day or rebook on a later date or even request a refund, reported PTI.

British Airways and Air India were also expected to cancel or reschedule some of their India-Heathrow flights to adhere to the passenger number limits, according to an aviation industry source

The limits on passenger numbers imposed by Heathrow airport will continue from July 12 to September 11. British Airways and Air India were also expected to cancel or reschedule some of their India-Heathrow flights to adhere to the passenger number limits, according to an aviation industry source.

On July 12, Heathrow Airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye said in a statement that over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers had regularly exceeded one lakh per day, the airport had started to see periods when service dropped to a level that was not acceptable: long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations.

“Our assessment is that the maximum number of daily departing passengers that airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport can collectively serve over the summer is no more than 1 lakh,” he added.

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Suhani Singh
Suhani Singh is a travel and hospitality professional. Her areas of interest are business development and travel advisory.

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