World Cup Closes In As Heathrow Removes Passenger Caps

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C (satellite 2) viewed from airfield, May 2011. David Dyson
Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C (satellite 2) viewed from airfield, May 2011. David Dyson

LONDON – As the Qatar 2022 World Cup closes in, London Heathrow Airport has announced today that it will be removing the daily 100,000 passenger cap at the airport for all services in time for the winter schedules.

Why Now

The passenger cap limit of 100,000 daily travellers was brought in by the airport in July as Heathrow airport like many globally such as Amsterdams Schipol struggled to avoid lengthy delays and queues due to staff shortages, but the introduction of the cap is believed to have helped stem the issue.

As mentioned before it was supposed to be a temporary measure throughout July, but has since remained in place with it finally now being removed on October 29.

As to the question of why the cap has been removed now, well it boils down to a few major factors and conditions. One of them is the special event the Men’s Football Word Cup which is due to take place in Qatar over the winter period this year, which has seen two of the 4 UK nations qualify to play, albeit, into the same group, this will mean that Heathrow airport will become a focal point for passengers travelling to the events.

It won’t just be UK fans either, with the U.S also qualifying and being in the UK teams groups, many U.S travellers may opt to get connecting flights out to Qatar and other surrounding cities as the cost and a limited number of seats on flights are starting to rise as the event gets closer.

The second part of this reasoning has come from the airport being under increasing pressure from the airlines that operate at Heathrow. None more notable than Emirates, who during the summer period had even suggested to Heathrow it would need to review its flight and passenger number caps or it would consider moving its daily services to other airports in the UK, with both Birmingham and London Stanstead looked at as potential replacements for its Heathrow services.

While it would have likely kept its A380s on 3 times daily services out of the UK’s busiest airport, it could have easily considered the other two airports as better locations for its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which also fly out of Heathrow.

Can Heathrow Stop A Repeat Of Summer

The question now becomes whether or not the airport is even able to accommodate such large numbers of fans as it will be dealing with football fans on top of its regular winter travellers off to their European destinations for ski holidays or travelling home to see loved ones, and the whole argument that has taken place between airlines and airports over the last three months has left some sour tastes in both sides mouths as the blame game for the summer disruption began.

Truth be told the onus on making this work for the airport and the country really lies with the airport and the government, with the airport being privately run it has the responsibility to ensure it employees enough staff, this can really only be done however through the government ensuring that the procedures are in place that enough border staff are working at the airport to stop any serious backlogs or queues.

While the eyes of the world will firmly be sat on Qatar, the major connecting hubs of the world will truly be pushed to their utter limits as 100’s millions of fans move around to either watch the games or enter fan zones

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