SUMMER holidays to far-flung destinations are in JEOPARDY as travel chaos puts British Airways at risk of suspending long-haul flights.
PAEven more BA flights could be grounded thanks to the passenger number restrictions at Heathrow Airport[/caption]
BA announced yesterday that it had stop selling short-haul flights for an extra week due to the current cap on flights at Heathrow Airport.
The UK flag carrier originally suspended the journeys until last weekend, before extending this to August 8, then again to August 15.
But today a spokesperson confirmed that cancelling longer flights was not off the cards.
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The harsh suspensions of flights so far have been imposed as a result of Heathrow Airport’s holiday hell in recent weeks.
More than half of the flights out of Heathrow are operated by BA.
Britain’s busiest airport rationed the number of flights out of its terminals and ordered airlines to cancel at least 1,000 more flights last month.
The airport capped the number of planes able to fly each day until September telling airlines to stop selling tickets, in a similar move to Gatwick Airport earlier in the summer.
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And now flights to far-away could face the axe as well after the short-haul suspension failed to stem the airport disasters.
Since the start of the summer, airports around the UK have crumbled beneath the sheer number of Brits travelling again.
Heathrow has said its terminals were desperate for an intervention to minimise pressure on “critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under resourced”.
There is a shortage of check-in staff, bag handlers and other logistics personnel following the pandemic when so many could not work.
The latest announcement from BA that long-haul flights could be affected as well might push other airline prices higher and make holiday-planning even more difficult for Brits desperate to get away.
Alex Macheras, an independent aviation analyst, told the Telegraph that it was “realistic” to expect that BA to cut back sales of long-haul flights amid ongoing disruption.
He said: “With the current restrictions, caps and pressures that are being put on airlines, there is no way they could guarantee that not a single long-haul flight will be affected.
“BA’s global route network is incredibly vast and while short-haul flights with multiple frequencies will always take the hit first, they also operate long-haul flights with multiple frequencies. So there is room there as well to trim down the schedule.
“The stand-out example would be the route to New York, but also other flights to North America and South East Asia.”
Yet the BA spokesman said the airline was dealing with ticket sale suspensions on a case-by-case basis with no blanket restrictions.
This means a traveller on a cancelled morning flight should be able to reach their destination at a different time that day.
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Despite admitting that the decision would be a “responsible” course of action, BA also confessed it could lose a small fortune during the the suspension of ticket sales.
One aviation data firm, OAG, estimated the passenger number restrictions could cost airlines as much as half a billion pounds.
AFPAirports across the UK have seen holiday hell this summer with bags piling up and queues stretching for hours due to staff shortages[/caption]
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