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Heathrow passenger limits extended to 29 October

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Heathrow has extended its summer cap on the number of passengers flying in and out of the airport until 29 October following a consultation with airlines. 

In July the airport followed Gatwick by announcing it would restrict the number of passengers going through its doors to 100,00 per day amid chaos caused by cancelled flights and staff shortages.

The cap was originally set to last until 11 September but will now run through to the end of October in order to cope with the half term holiday rush.

A statement from Heathrow said: “By better balancing passenger demand with available resources, we are able to operate a safe airport ecosystem that prioritises passenger needs. Since July, the cap has resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter waits for bags.”

Gatwick, Frankfurt and Schiphol also put in place equivalent capacity limits over the summer, with Schiphol deciding to extend its cap through to the end of October as well.

Heathrow said the capacity limits will be kept under regular review and could be lifted earlier “should there be a sustained picture of better resilience and a material increase in resourcing levels”.

A shortage of airline ground handlers remains “a core constraint on capacity” said Heathrow’s statement, which confirmed the airport is now in talks with the industry to find a sustainable solution to staffing challenges.

Heathrow chief commercial officer Ross Baker said: “Our primary concern is ensuring we give our passengers a reliable service when they travel. That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July which have already improved journeys during the summer getaway.

“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve.”