Heathrow has provided an update on the current situation at the airport, where it says there has been “unprecedented growth in passenger numbers”.
The London hub said that the increase in traffic over the last four months was the equivalent to 40 years of passenger growth at the airport, with six million passengers travelling through its terminals last month, a five-fold increase compared to June 2021.
Heathrow said while “we have been able to provide a good level of service for the vast majority of passengers”, there have been periods in recent weeks where customers have experienced long queue times, delays for those with reduced mobility, and instances of bags either not travelling with passengers or arriving late.
The airport also said that “Arrivals punctuality is very low as a result of delays at other airports and airspace congestion across Europe and this has compounded the challenge of resource constraints for the airport, airlines, ground handlers and government agencies”.
Last month the UK government set out a 22-point plan to minimise aviation disruption this summer, including a slot amnesty, and working worked with airlines and airports “to get weekly updates and assurances to government that they can run their schedule of summer flights”.
Heathrow said its number one priority was to give passengers “a safe and reliable journey”, adding that “we will carefully assess if airlines’ reviewed schedule changes will help achieve that”.
Commenting on the news Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye, said:
“Last month, we saw exponential growth in passenger numbers as nearly six million people got away – the equivalent of 40 years of growth in just four months. I am very proud of the way that our team is rising to the challenge of growth, and giving excellent service to the vast majority of passengers.
“However, we have already seen times recently when demand exceeds the capacity of the airport, airlines and ground handlers.
“We will review the schedule changes that airlines have submitted in response to the government’s requirement to minimise disruption for passengers this summer and will ask them to take further action if necessary.
“We want everyone who is travelling through Heathrow to be confident that they will have a safe and reliable journey.”