Emirates Airlines President & Heathrow CEO Issue Joint Statement on Airport Travel Cap Row

Passengers in Heathrow Airport terminal 5a
Photo Credit: Heathrow Airport.

LONDON – Following Emirates Airline’s recent statement expressing their annoyance with the recent Heathrow Airport decision to restrict passenger numbers for departing flights, a joint statement has been issued by the respective heads of the two parties.

The joint statement from Emirates Airlines President Sir Tim Clark KBE and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye released 15 July reads as follows:

“The President of Emirates Airline and the CEO of Heathrow Airport held a constructive meeting this morning.”

“Emirates agreed the airline was ready and willing to work with the airport to remediate the situation over the next 2 weeks, to keep demand and capacity in balance and provide passengers with a smooth and reliable journey through Heathrow this summer.”

“Emirates has capped further sales on its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August to assist Heathrow in its resource ramp-up, and is working to adjust capacity.”

“In the meantime, Emirates flights from Heathrow operate as scheduled and ticketed passengers may travel as booked.”

The Capacity Cap

The recent flare up with Emirates Airlines stemmed from the Airport’s recent decision to place a cap of 100,000 passenger departures on Heathrow, until September.

The Airport cited the fact that they had seen the equivalent of 40 years of passenger growth in just 4 months. Their concern peaked when it became clear to them that passenger service had become ‘unacceptable’ when departure numbers rose over 100,000 daily.

In a press statement on 12 July, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye had stated:

“The global aviation industry is recovering from the pandemic, but the legacy of COVID continues to pose challenges for the entire sector as it rebuilds capacity.  At Heathrow, we have seen 40 years of passenger growth in just four months.”

“However, over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers have regularly exceeded 100,000 a day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable.”

“Long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations.”

“This is due to a combination of reduced arrivals punctuality (as a result of delays at other airports and in European airspace) and increased passenger numbers starting to exceed the combined capacity of airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport.”

“Our assessment is that the maximum number of daily departing passengers that airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport can collectively serve over the summer is no more than 100,000.”

Emirates’ response

As a result, the cap of 100,000 passenger departures per day was applied, to run from 12 July to 11 September.

The Gulf Carrier Emirates reacted angrily, issuing a statement that compared the Heathrow situation to ‘Airmageddon’ and stating that it would basically ignore the restrictions.

The fact that Heathrow only gave carriers 36 hours to comply had further angered the airline.

The recent joint statement issued after negotiations between the two parties may hopefully go some way towards calming troubled waters.

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