BA axes 8% of LHR flights, Ryanair responds by adding 1M additional winter seats
British Airways (BA) has announced plans to adjust its end-of-summer and winter schedule after London Heathrow Airport extended the daily cap on passenger numbers until October 29, 2022, and asked airlines to sell fewer flights.
“Following Heathrow's decision to extend its passenger cap we're making adjustments to our short-haul schedule for the next two months,” the airline said in a statement provided to AeroTime.
Under Heathrow’s extended restrictions the airline will have to cancel on average a further 12 short-haul roundtrips from London Heathrow each day until October 29, 2022, BA told AeroTime. In total, the airline is taking out 629 round trips for this period.
“While the vast majority of our customers will travel as planned and we're protecting key holiday destinations over half-term, we will need to make some further cancellations up to the end of October,” BA said in the statement.
The airline also expects to cut up to 5,000 roundtrips from its winter short-haul schedule until the end of March next year.
The Heathrow-based airline expects to operate an average of 290 roundtrips per day from LHR during winter. However, it notes that the impact for its customers will be minimal, highlighting that its total capacity for the winter schedule (LH and SH) will be reduced by 8%.
“We're giving customers travelling with us this winter notice of some adjustments to our schedule, which will include consolidating some of our short-haul flights to destinations with multiple services,” the airline told AeroTime. “We'll be offering customers affected by any of these changes an alternative flight with British Airways or another airline or the option of a refund.”
“Hopeless Heathrow,” says O’Leary as Ryanair adds 1 million seats to its UK winter schedule
Low-cost rival Ryanair, which doesn’t fly from LHR, was quick to respond, declaring it had added over one million seats to its winter schedules to and from 20 UK airports.
O’Leary said: “While BA are cancelling 8% of their winter schedule due to staff shortages and ‘Hopeless Heathrow’s’ capacity restrictions, Ryanair is now adding more capacity (over 1 million low-fare seats) to our largest ever UK winter schedule so that UK families can book with confidence that they will get to their low-fare city break and winter sun getaways without the risk of flight cancellations and avoiding ‘Hopeless Heathrow’ as well.”
With its adjusted winter schedule, Ryanair now expects to see its full-year traffic grow from an initial target of 165 million to more than 166.5 million passengers in 2022.
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