Heathrow has announced that it will be lifting its passenger cap as planned from 30th October. This isn’t the end of it, however, as the airport has not ruled out implementing a ‘highly targeted mechanism’ that would ‘align supply and demand’ during key peak days in the run up to Christmas.
It is good news for airlines, which have been highly critical of Heathrow’s inability to ramp up operations this Summer and resulting in the airport limiting departing passengers to 100,000 per day.
Whilst this was better than Schiphol’s performance in Amsterdam, which cut departures to as low as 54,000 per day, it was less than half of Heathrow’s 2019 passenger numbers.
Heathrow wasn’t the only UK airport to face difficulties over the Summer. Manchester and Gatwick also received widespread coverage for failing to accommodate rebounding passenger demand, although both airports appeared to get a grip on the situation as the Summer progressed. This didn’t stop Manchester being voted ‘Worst UK Airport’ by readers of Which? magazine this week ….
Heathrow says its priority is to “build back the airport eco-system to meet demand at peak times”. Businesses across the airport need to recruit an additional 25,000 people with security clearance, it claims.
More than 76,000 people worked at Heathrow in 2013. Accounting for passenger growth in the past decade that would mean increasing Heathrow’s headcount by about 25%-30% from where it is today. This is unlikely to end well given the low pay and unsocial hours of many airport jobs, at a time of low unemployment elsewhere.