Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, May 18, 2024

UK government issues ultimatum to Heathrow CEO over flight disruption

UK government issues ultimatum to Heathrow CEO over flight disruption

John Holland-Kaye has until midday on Friday to assure ministers the airport has sufficient security workers and to assist disabled passengers
Ministers have issued an ultimatum to the chief executive of Heathrow, calling on him to provide a plan to resolve the airport’s staffing problems, it has been reported.

John Holland-Kaye has until midday on Friday to assure ministers that the airport has sufficient workers for security screening and to assist disabled passengers, according to a letter from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) director general for aviation, maritime and security and the chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) seen by the Daily Telegraph.

The airport boss has also been asked to report back with a “credible and resilient capacity recovery plan for the next six months”.

Rannia Leontaridi, a civil servant in the DfT, and Richard Moriarty, the chief executive of the CAA, wrote: “Heathrow and the airlines that use your airport must be assured, and be able to assure us, that you have in place a plan that can deliver a positive passenger experience through allowing as many people as possible to travel, without too much disruption and queues, and in particular to avoid significant numbers of short-notice and on-the-day cancellations.

“The Government and the CAA are concerned that current resourcing plans are not delivering this outcome.”

The ultimatum comes as Emirates defied Heathrow’s demand that airlines cut summer flights, saying it would continue to operate its planned schedule and accusing the London airport of fomenting “airmageddon”.

The Gulf carrier said that the airport’s request, made in an attempt to ease travel disruption, was “entirely unreasonable and unacceptable”. In a blistering statement, the airline instead pointed the finger at Heathrow management’s “incompetence and non-action” in failing to prepare for the rebound in flying after coronavirus travel restrictions were lifted.

Heathrow announced on Tuesday that it was capping daily passenger numbers at 100,000 over the summer and telling airlines to stop selling tickets for the peak season. The move was designed to avoid repeats of the chaotic scenes at airports around country at Easter and half-term, caused by soaring demand for travel at a time of staff shortages.

Apologising to those affected, Heathrow said on Tuesday that the passenger cap would mean some summer flights would either be moved to another day or airport or cancelled altogether.

Airlines have already slashed thousands of flights from their summer schedules after UK aviation authorities offered a temporary “slot amnesty”, allowing airlines to escape forfeiting valuable takeoff and landing slots if they did not use them this year. The government said the move would benefit travellers by encouraging carriers to limit the number of last-minute cancellations.

Heathrow said the cuts did not go far enough, but Emirates – which operates six daily return flights between Britain’s busiest airport and Dubai, and flies fleets of A380 superjumbos that cannot be used at smaller airports – said it was “highly regrettable” that Heathrow gave it 36 hours on Wednesday to comply with capacity reductions “of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air”.

The airline said: “Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.”

Surging demand for summer travel after two years of Covid-19 restrictions has swamped airlines and airports in Europe, which are short-staffed after many pilots, cabin crew, check-in workers and baggage handlers were made redundant. That has left passengers facing last-minute cancellations, lengthy delays, lost luggage or long waits for bags.

Heathrow blames a shortage of ground staff, who are contracted by airlines to check in passengers, load and unload bags, and prepare aircraft for their next journeys.

Emirates, however, said its ground-handling and catering services are owned by the airline’s parent company and “are fully ready and capable of handling our flights”. The blame instead lies with the airport’s “central services and systems”, it said.

The airline accused Heathrow’s management of being “cavalier” about passengers and airlines, with signs of a rebound in travel having been apparent for months.

Emirates said that while it had prepared for the recovery, including by rehiring and training 1,000 pilots in the past year, Heathrow had failed to act, plan or invest.

“Now, faced with an ‘airmageddon’ situation due to their incompetence and non-action, they are pushing the entire burden of costs and the scramble to sort the mess to airlines and travellers,” the statement said.

Emirates urged London Heathrow’s shareholders – largely sovereign wealth funds, including Qatar – to “scrutinise the decisions of the management team”, piling the pressure on Holland-Kaye.

Heathrow said it had been asking airlines for months to help draw up a plan to solve their staffing challenges, “but no clear plans were forthcoming, and with each passing day the problem got worse”.

The airport said in response to the Emirates statement: “We had no choice but to take the difficult decision to impose a capacity cap designed to give passengers a better, more reliable journey and to keep everyone working at the airport safe.

“It would be disappointing if instead of working together, any airline would want to put profit ahead of a safe and reliable passenger journey.”

Rebooking so many potentially affected passengers is impossible because all flights for the next few weeks are full, including at other London airports and on alternative airlines, Emirates said. Moving some operations to other UK airports at short notice was also unrealistic, it added.

Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner