Дата: 03-08-22 12:29
British Airways Extends Flight Sale Suspension For Another Week
British Airways has now stopped selling tickets on domestic and short-haul European flights from Heathrow until August 15.
British Airways has extended a ban on short-haul European and domestic ticket sales. On Monday, the airline said it was extending a brief end-of-July sales pause until August 8. On Tuesday, British Airways confirmed that it would further extend that sales ban until August 15. The unusual move is a response to a daily passenger movement cap now in place at British Airways' key London Heathrow hub.
British Airways' response to Heathrow passenger caps
Heathrow Airport has imposed its controversial 100,000 passengers per day cap to relieve stresses on the airport operations. This summer, the UK's busiest airport has been bedeviled by labor shortages, causing delays, massive queues, and baggage handling challenges. The airport's self-imposed cap is in place until mid-September, but there is an expectation it may get extended.
The British Airways decision impacts UK domestic and European short-haul flights from Heathrow. It isn't canceling the flights, and available seats on the return leg to Heathrow remain on sale. Instead, British Airways has simply stopped selling any remaining seats on these flights from Heathrow. Simple Flying understands most affected scheduled flights were almost full before the sales pause was implemented, so only a handful of seats on each flight were removed from sale.
A high-profile move with multiple outcomes
The impact on day-to-day passenger numbers may be less than the headlines suggest. But the move is also a clear signal from British Airways that they are responding to Heathrow's call to cap passenger numbers while simultaneously drawing attention to the airport's current operational inadequacies. Another less publicized side effect of the sales pause is that it allows British Airways to clear passengers otherwise stranded by last-minute flight cancelations. Those unsold seats won't necessarily go unused.
"When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule and to continue to comply with the cap, we've been taking responsible action by limiting sales or all the available fares on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to rebook customers," British Airways says in a statement.
Last-minute cancelations are down, but delays continue at Heathrow
Heathrow's daily passenger cap may be working. According to flight tracking website FlightAware, there were only three last-minute cancellations at the airport on Tuesday. But the situation was less promising regarding delays. With Tuesday now nearly over, there were around 200 delays out of LHR across the day and approximately 120 delays on flights into Heathrow. British Airways only had one last-minute cancellation at Heathrow but experienced 178 delays at the airport across Tuesday.
British Airways (and Heathrow) argue that reducing the number of passengers passing through the airport will help smooth out operations and improve reliability. Critically, the move aims to cut the number of last-minute cancellations, severe delays, and long waits at security lanes and when collecting checked-in luggage.
Last week, IAG Chief Executive Officer, Luis Gallego, said the situation at Heathrow was slowly improving but had some way to go. "The problem is not only us. It is a combination of actors in the ecosystem," he said. "It is the airport, it is us for sure, it is air traffic control, it's the providers. We need to do well together."
Джерело інформації: Simple Flying
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