Govt gives Heathrow until midday to provide credible plan to end disruption

By Lisa James
Home » Govt gives Heathrow until midday to provide credible plan to end disruption

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye has been given an official ultimatum by the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority to provide a ‘credible and resilient recovery plan’.

The plan must be delivered by noon today.

The Telegraph reported late on Thursday night that it had seen a letter, jointly signed by Department for Transport Director General for Aviation Rannia Leontaridi and CAA Chief Executive Richard Moriarty that asked for assurances the airport has enough staff for security screening and to assist disabled passengers, in addition to providing a ‘credible and resilient capacity recovery plan for the next six months’.

Their letter said: “Heathrow and the airlines that use your airport must be assured, and be able to assure us, that you have in place a plan that can deliver a positive passenger experience through allowing as many people as possible to travel, without too much disruption and queues, and in particular to avoid significant numbers of short-notice and on-the-day cancellations.   

“The Government and the CAA are concerned that current resourcing plans are not delivering this outcome.”

The letter follows yesterday’s announcement by Emirates that it was defying Heathrow’s call for airlines to cancel flights to help it achieve its plan to cap passenger numbers for the rest of the summer.

The Telegraph also reports industry data shows Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have also declined to cancel flights from Heathrow.

British Airways has said it will comply with Heathrow’s request to cancel more flights although it said the situation was ‘disappointing’.

BA said: “This is incredibly disappointing news for our customers, coming at a time when we’ve already taken responsible action to reduce our summer schedule to slim our programme further, utilising slot alleviation to minimise disruption, provide certainty for travellers and help airports manage their resource.

“As a result of Heathrow’s request, we will now need to take a small number of additional flights out of our schedule and we will be contacting customers to apologise, advise them of their customer rights and offer options including rebooking or refund.

“We also know that some customers may want to review their travel plans in light of the current travel challenges and have introduced a policy that will allow customers to easily change travel dates so that they have additional flexibility.”

Which? Travel Acting Editor Guy Hobbs said: “Passengers don’t need a public shouting match between airlines and airports.

“They need clarity and certainty for their holiday plans. With the big summer getaway just a week away, individuals and families with trips booked are caught in the crossfire.

“The unacceptable chaos at the UK’s biggest airport shows why passenger rights must be strengthened.

“The Government must give the Civil Aviation Authority stronger powers so it can hit operators with heavy fines when they flout the rules and drop its plans to slash compensation payouts when UK domestic flights are delayed or cancelled.”

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