Heathrow Airport has axed 30 Thursday flights overnight, as it asked airlines to reduce schedules to ease the pressure on its terminals.
The cancellations, which could affect more than 4,500 passengers, predominantly affect British Airways services – though Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, KLM, Aer Lingus and Air France flights are also impacted.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, British Airways confirmed that it will make further cuts to its summer flights. The additional cuts mean the cancellations now represent around 11 per cent, rather than 10 per cent as previously announced, of its planned schedule between May and October.
A representative for the airline said: “As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions.
“We’re in touch with customers to apologize and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”
Follow all the latest news and updates below.
Why are airlines and airports struggling with lost baggage?
Slow waits for baggage and suitcases lost for up to 10 days at UK airports have dominated the headlines during the past few weeks.
Meanwhile Dublin and Toronto’s airports have both come under fire for slow-to-appear baggage after flights, and lost luggage piling up.
So why it is happening and how are airline and airport executives going to address these challenges?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Lucy Thackray30 June 2022 11:19
Heathrow cancels 30 Thursday morning flights after leap in passenger numbers
The UK’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, is quieter than normal today, after airlines were told to cut 30 flights from their schedules up to 12.30pm.
One in 40 of today’s flights from the UK’s busiest airport is cancelled, affecting at least 5,000 travellers.
The Independent understands the “intervention” was made after it became clear that airlines were expecting 13 per cent more passengers today than last Thursday.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away.”
simon calder30 June 2022 10:35
As flights are axed, fares soar
British Airways has told The Independent it is taking one in nine flights out of its Heathrow schedule this summer. The cuts are having a serious effect on fares and availability.
Between now and 11 July, the lowest economy one-way fare from London to Athens on BA is £752, flying from Gatwick. From Heathrow, the cheapest ticket costs £5 more.
In the same timeframe, the cheapest Heathrow-Rome ticket is £666.
On a per-mile basis, Amsterdam is top among international routes, with the lowest fare from Heathrow currently £516 for a journey of 231 miles – a rate of £2.23 per mile.
But Heathrow-Manchester (£415, 151 miles, £2.75 per mile) is most expensive overall and domestically – with the link to Newcastle priced at £463 for a trip 100 miles further (£1.85 per mile).
simon calder30 June 2022 10:09
Air Canada shrinks summer flights
Air Canada has warned of “meaningful reductions to our schedule in July and August” in an effort to avoid making last-minute cancellations.
Michael Rousseau, the carrie’s chief executive, said: “To bring about the level of operational stability we need, with reluctance, we are now making meaningful reductions to our schedule in July and August in order to reduce passenger volumes and flows to a level we believe the air transport system can accommodate.
“This was not an easy decision, as it will result in additional flight cancellations that will have a negative impact on some customers. But doing this in advance affects customers to take time to make other arrangements in an orderly manner, rather than have their travel disrupted shortly before or during their journey, with few alternatives available.
“We are convinced these changes will bring about the improvements we have targeted. But to set expectations, it should also be understood the real benefits of this action will take time and be felt only gradually as the industry regains the reliability and robustness it had attained prior to the pandemic.”
simon calderJune 30, 2022 09:44
Which Heathrow flights are affected by today’s cancellations?
The majority of today’s canceled flights at Heathrow are British Airways services, with a handful of other airlines affected.
Sixteen short-haul BA services – to Munich, Rome, Marseille, Madrid, Vienna, Athens, Budapest, Dusseldorf, Luxembourg, Thessaloniki, Geneva, Dublin, Basel, Berlin, Manchester and Ibiza – were all canceled before 9am.
Future BA flights to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Milan, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Hamburg are also affected.
Meanwhile two United Airlines services to Washington DC and Chicago were axed, as were two American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic departures to New York, and Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt and Munich.
A Eurowings flight to Stuttgart was also cancelled, as were an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin, an Air France Paris service, a KLM service to Amsterdam and an Air Canada flight to Halifax.
Lucy ThackrayJune 30, 2022 09:26
Short-notice cancellations continue at Gatwick
Hundreds of passengers hoping to fly to and from London Gatwick are rearranging their journeys after another wave of flight cancellations.
Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has made three more short-notice cancellations of early flights: a 7am service to Edinburgh, an 8am to Paris CDG and an 8.15am to Bordeaux.
The cancellation to the French capital is blamed on a strike. Passengers were told: “We have been advised by French Authorities that firefighting & rescue services in Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport will be taking part in industrial action on 30th of June. We regret to advise that your flight has been canceled as a result of this industrial action.
“The disruption to your flight is outside of our control and is considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.”
Due to the strike, the airline will not pay cancellation compensation for the change to this flight, but it has not given a reason for the other groundings – indicating that claims for £220 per person should go through.
EasyJet’s smaller rival, Wizz Air, also grounded its 6.15am departure to Malaga.
simon calder30 June 2022 09:13
Good morning and welcome to The Independent‘s travel liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest news and updates.
Lucy ThackrayJune 30, 2022 09:06