British Airways has announced it is canceling thousands of flights this fall, and Ryanair has responded by revealing they have 100,000 additional seats for customers to purchase this fall/winter. It comes as Heathrow Airport a passenger cap was introduced in July due to staff shortages.
Tens of thousands of flights have already been canceled this summer – mainly due to lack of funds. Now British Airways has said it will make “further cancellations” as they continue to implement the passenger limit.
About 10,000 short-haul flights (domestic and European) to and from Heathrow Airport between the end of October and March 2023 will be affected. In total, this means that almost two million seats will be taken off the market, forcing travelers to pay higher rates for the remaining capacity.
A BA spokesperson said: “While the vast majority of our customers will travel as planned and we are protecting key holiday destinations during the half term, we will have to make some further cancellations until the end of October.
“In addition, we are advising customers traveling with us this winter of some changes to our schedule, including consolidating some of our short-haul flights to multi-service destinations.
“We are offering customers affected by any of these changes an alternative flight with British Airways or another airline, or the option of a refund.”
Ryanair, on the other hand, could give those passengers whose BA flights have been canceled a chance to go on holiday.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “As Heathrow hopelessly continues to cut flights and raise fares for families, Ryanair and London Stansted continue to add flights and offer thousands of cheap seats for the mid-term break.
“With over 500 extra flights, over 100,000 extra seats and prices from just £29.99 (£25.29), Ryanair is looking forward to welcoming thousands of additional families over the autumn break on its low cost flights to/from London Stansted Airport .
“While hopelessly Heathrow continues to mismanage air traffic, Ryanair and London Stansted will continue to grow and deliver to London families, as we have done throughout the summer of 2022.”
Ryanair insisted that the company and Stansted have “more than enough staff to handle these additional flights”.
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In the short term, BA is also canceling a dozen round trips per day, a total of 629 flights, until the end of October.
BA’s main hub, Heathrow, is struggling to cope with rising passenger numbers and problems with baggage handling systems have resulted in long delays in baggage drop-off.
“Customers who have booked for the winter can travel as scheduled and will be notified of any changes for several months,” the statement read.
The airline expects to operate an average of 290 return flights per day from London Heathrow during the winter.
During the pandemic, thousands of jobs were lost in the airline industry as most flights were grounded by travel restrictions.
There is a race to recruit new employees to accommodate the resurgence of vacationers.
But training new staff and getting the necessary security clearance has been a lengthy process, airport bosses said.
Heathrow would be one of the hardest hit.