British Airways suspends sale of Heathrow short-haul flights

British Airways - Image Fasttailwind/shutterstock.com

British Airways suspends the sale of short-haul flights from Heathrow for the time being as it works to comply with the airports cap on flights.

The announcement, which came overnight on Monday, August 1 sees thousands of seats being removed from sale during a very busy holiday season. The suspension of sales will push potential customers onto other airlines, which some in the industry believe will push prices up as demand exceeds supply.

Prices have already increased on some routes and on some travel alternatives with airport delays and thousands upon thousands of flight cancellations, having created unprecedented shortages of seats.

A British Airways statement said: “As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we’ve decided to take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry.”

The underlying staff issues remain a problem for airports and airlines with the Heathrow passenger cap remaining in place until at least September 11, limiting passenger numbers to just 100,000 a day.

British Airways had already cut the number of its flights over the summer by more than 10,000 in an effort to meet the passenger cap, but with demand for flights remaining high further action was needed.

Although it is not the only airline affected, British Airways and EasyJet seem to have experienced greater issues than many of their competitors. Other airlines like Emirates (long-haul flights only) have chosen to ignore the cap resulting in a very public spat between Heathrow and the company.

Adding to the row over responsibility for the cancellation and reduction in flight numbers are the Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority, who jointly issued a letter to carriers that expressed concern that airlines were engaged in practices harmful to their customers.

This included selling tickets to flights they could not reasonably expect to supply. They also reminded airlines of the need to comply with regulations and to make affected passengers aware of their rights.

As British Airways suspends the sale of its Heathrow short-haul flights, the question remains whether others will follow suit or whether this amounts to a massive miscalculation by the airline when given the opportunity to cancel flights during the slot amnesty.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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