London’s Heathrow Airport to End Passenger Cap in Late October

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Heathrow Airport said on Monday that it would lift its temporary passenger cap, which limits the airport’s capacity to 100,000 departing passengers per day, on Oct. 29. The London airport imposed the limit over the summer in an attempt to manage chaotic conditions amid a jump in travel as restrictions imposed early in the coronavirus pandemic were lifted.

Citing staffing shortages that led to long lines and frequent cancellations, Heathrow first announced a capacity limit in July. It was originally set to end on Sept. 11, but in August the airport said it would extend the cap through most of October.

A spokesman for Heathrow said on Monday that the cap would be lifted because the airport was seeing fewer last-minute cancellations and shorter waits for luggage.

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A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic, one of Britain’s largest carriers, said in an email that the airline welcomed the decision to end the capacity limit ahead of the winter travel season.

Other airports around Europe have faced worker shortages in recent months. Last week, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport said that it would be extending its passenger cap until early next year.

Schiphol had previously said that it would limit departures to about 70,000 passengers per day through October, and in a statement last week said that it may reconsider the cap at the end of the year.

Schiphol’s statement noted that it was working to address staff shortages, including with “improved rest rooms and better wages for security company employees.”



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