Heathrow Airport insists the latest travel chaos is beginning to ease after asking airlines to cut their flight schedules to cope with delays and cancellations.
The group’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said passengers had seen “better, more reliable journeys” since the limit on departure flights was enforced.
Heathrow and Gatwick ordered airlines to cut their routes after chaotic scenes as staff shortages left them struggling to cope with the sudden surge in demand for overseas holidays.
Holidaymakers faced delays and cancellations along with long queues as airports struggled with baggage handling, air traffic control and security.
Passengers are seeing better and more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow
But Heathrow said the cap has “delivered improvements to the passenger experience, with fewer last-minute flight cancellations, better flight punctuality and baggage delivery”.
Mr Holland-Kaye added: “Passengers are seeing better and more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap.
“I want to thank all my colleagues across the airport for their fantastic work in getting people away on holiday.”
Heathrow did not give details of when the cap might be lifted, but said increasing the airline’s ground handling operations would be a key factor – “and we have launched a ground handling review to support this aim”.
The group is likely to face a barrage of compensation claims from affected holiday companies and airlines, many of whom have laid the blame for disruptions squarely at the feet of the airports.
Tui revealed on Wednesday that it is trying to recover a “significant” sum from the airports it flies from after being hit with a €75m (£63m) cost over the latest travel problems.
Heathrow said security staffing is back to pre-pandemic levels and 88% of passengers have cleared security in 20 minutes or less.
The group’s latest passenger statistics showed it saw 318% more people – a total of 6.3 million – pass through its terminals in July.
These measures, along with steps taken by the industry, are clearly working, with flight cancellations recently falling back to 2019 levels following the changes
Spokesman for the Ministry of Transport
It said a further 16 million are expected to travel through Heathrow between July and September as travel demand increases.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the Government’s efforts have also played a role in easing travel disruption.
A DfT spokesman said: “Last month we unveiled a 22-point plan to support the industry, including accelerated national security checks to help speed up recruitment, and a temporary amnesty on airport slots to allow airlines to plan ahead and prevent last-minute cancellations.
“These measures, along with steps taken by the industry, are clearly working and flight cancellations have recently fallen back to 2019 levels following the changes, giving passengers more security.”