London’s Heathrow airport extends passenger limits until late October as travel strains continue into the fall


Passengers wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus arrive at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 in London, August 3,, 2021.
Tejas Sandhu | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

London Heathrow Airport has extended limits on departing passengers through late October to avoid travel chaos as Britain’s busiest hub grapples with staffing shortages and a surge in travelers.

No more than 100,000 passengers a day can depart Heathrow through Oct. 29, the airport said Monday. The caps, first announced in July, were set to expire after Sept. 11.

“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,” Ross Baker, Heathrow’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement.

The airport said, since it first established the capacity limits, punctuality and wait times for bags have improved and there have been fewer last-minute cancellations.

Staffing shortages after more than two years of the Covid pandemic have collided with an onslaught of passengers throughout Europe this summer, creating long lines and other headaches like lost luggage.

Other European airports have taken similar measures. Earlier this month, Amsterdam Schiphol said it would cap passenger departures into October.

Some airlines, including American, are barring the use of some employee flight perks out of London Heathrow and warning staff about difficulties finding seats using their travel benefits from some European airports, CNBC reported last week. On Monday, American said it would start phasing out some of those restrictions on Aug. 22.

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