More flights could be cancelled this summer, Heathrow warns

London’s Heathrow Airport asked airlines to cancel 61 flights on Monday and warned that further cuts are possible this summer.

The UK’s largest and busiest airport is trying to cope with soaring demand as passengers return after the pandemic.

Nearly 6 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in June, taking the total for the first six months of the year to 25 million passengers. In the last four months alone, Heathrow has experienced the equivalent of 40 years of passenger growth.

With the industry struggling to recruit staff after axing jobs during Covid lockdowns, tens of thousands of passengers have been affected by disruption and flight cancellations at airports across the UK.

Heathrow said that despite resource constraints for the airport, airlines, ground handlers and government agencies, most passengers have experienced a good level of service. It apologised for periods in recent weeks when service levels have dropped, with long queue times, delays for passengers with reduced mobility, and bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late.

“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,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

“We want everyone who is travelling through Heathrow to be confident that they will have a safe and reliable journey.”