Ryanair will add more than 500 flights to London Stansted during the October half-year as the airline’s boss called Heathrow “hopeless” after it extended its limit on passenger numbers.
The low-cost carrier said the move will provide capacity for an additional 100,000 travelers at the Essex airport.
Follow Heathrow’s decision to continue flight restrictionsintroduced in July due to staff shortage, until the end of October.
The limit of 100,000 daily departure passengers was due to end on September 11.
The airport said that without a limit, it will not be able to safely and reliably manage its flight schedule.
But the extension will affect families’ plans for midterm getaways.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “While desperate Heathrow continues to cut flights and raise fares for families, Ryanair and London Stansted continue to add flights and offer thousands of low-fare seats for the mid-week holidays. autumn period.
Ryanair insisted that it and Stansted have “more than enough staff to handle these additional flights”.
Heathrow has criticized airlines for a shortage of ground-handling staff at the airport, which has caused thousands of pieces of luggage not to board their owners’ flights this summer.
But flight operators have blamed the airport – the UK’s largest and one of the world’s busiest – for failing to prepare for a recovery in passenger numbers after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heathrow aims to get rid of the cap ‘as soon as possible’
In response to the cap extension, a Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed that Heathrow Airport has already decided to extend the passenger capacity cap until the end of October, as additional resources and expertise are brought on board each week. at the airport it improves”. .
“Airline customers have a right to expect their reservations to be honored, and we are doing everything in our power to minimize disruption, getting our customers where they need to be without a hitch.
“We urge Heathrow to provide a comprehensive plan to return to normal operations as soon as possible.”
Heathrow was unable to provide figures on the number of people who have already booked mid-term flights to and from the airport.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are reviewing their schedules for the period, but no decisions have been made about future cancellations.
Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker said: “Our main concern is to ensure we provide our passengers with a reliable service when they travel.
“That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July, which have already improved travel during the summer break.
“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone who operates the airport has the resources to provide the service our passengers deserve.”
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Last week, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said that the airport was beginning to recover from the travel chaos of the last few months.
Thousands of jobs in the aviation industry were lost during the pandemic, when travel restrictions caused most flights to be suspended, and there has been a race to hire new workers to cope with the resurgence in demand.
Training staff and obtaining the necessary security clearance has also proven to be a lengthy process.