London's Heathrow Airport has introduced a cap to the number of departing passengers it can process daily.
No more than 100,000 people will be processed through the airport from now until September 11, due to a lack of staff physically available on the ground to ensure passengers and their luggage can be boarded onto planes in a timely manner.
The restriction is causing delays and cancellations to international flights travelling to and from the airport.
Smart Traveller issued a statement on July 25 advising passengers of the following:
Announced by Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye on July 12, this decision followed the airport noticing periods where service was dropping to unacceptable levels, including long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations.
"This is due to a combination of reduced arrivals punctuality (as a result of delays at other airports and in European airspace) and increased passenger numbers starting to exceed the combined capacity of airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport," John said.
"Our colleagues are going above and beyond to get as many passengers away as possible, but we cannot put them at risk for their own safety and wellbeing."
While extra staff have been hired since November last year in anticipation of the European summer 2022 peaks, there are some areas that are still understaffed, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft.
"By making this intervention now, our objective is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers at Heathrow this summer and to give confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags. We recognise that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be cancelled and we apologise to those whose travel plans are affected," John said.
Among the things asked by the airport of passengers:
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