British Airways (BA/BAW) has suspended the sale of short-haul flights from London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) until at least the 8th of August as it reaches the daily allowance of passengers set by the airport.
BA says it must stop the sales as continuing to do so would push it over the limit imposed by Britain’s busiest airport to help it cope with rising passenger demand but that the stoppage only affects new bookings and not existing domestic or European flights bookings which will go ahead as normal.
Heathrow imposed a daily cap of 100,000 passengers for the rest of the summer to avoid the scenes seen at Easter with last-minute cancelled flights and delays.
In a statement, BA said that it had taken “pre-emptive action to reduce our schedule this summer to give customers certainty about their travel plans”. adding “When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule and to continue to comply with the cap, we’ve been taking responsible action by limiting sales or all the available fares on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to rebook customers,”
The airline didn’t rule out further suspension of sales as it seeks to manage its bookings in line with the passenger cap.
The suspension of BA flight sales is likely to have an impact on other airlines as those seeking to travel will look elsewhere and this will also push the price of tickets up as demand will increase.
Several airlines including Virgin Atlantic have criticised the airport saying it should have done more to prevent the delays and cancellations by recruiting staff faster but Heathrow has made clear that it does not provide the ground staff for the airliners.