Emirates rejects Heathrow’s ‘unreasonable’ demand to cut summer flights

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Emirates has refused London Heathrow’s (LHR) demands for airlines to cut flights in order to comply with a cap on passenger numbers. The airport has asked carriers to reduce flights amid current disruptions during the summer travel peak. 

The airline said that LHR airport had given Emirates 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts and threatened to take legal action for non-compliance. 

“This is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands,” Emirates outlined in a statement. 

Having reinstated six daily Airbus A380 flights to LHR since October 2021, Emirates said that the “operational requirements cannot be a surprise for the airport”. The Dubai-based carrier also added that re-booking the “sheer” numbers of potentially impacted passengers or moving some of its passenger operations to other UK airports at such short notice is not realistic. 

“LHR chose not to act, not to plan, not to 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 travelers,” Emirates added. 

The news comes just days after Heathrow capped the number of passengers it can handle, and asked airlines to stop selling tickets. The airport said it believes airlines, ground handlers and the airport can collectively serve no more than 100,000 departing passengers a day during the busy summer period.  

“Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe that further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey,” Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said in a statement published on July 12, 2022. “We have therefore made the difficult decision to introduce a capacity cap with effect from 12 July to 11 September.”    


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