Europe travel latest: Schiphol extends caps, BA halts some LHR sales

Henk Vrieselaar /

Europe’s travel disruption doesn’t seem to be easing. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) is carrying on with capacity cuts into September and October to try and smooth operations against a backdrop of ongoing staff shortages, while British Airways is suspending some flight sales from London Heathrow (LHR).    

AMS has been hit hard by staff shortages, especially among security staff, with pictures being posted online of passengers having to wait outside the terminal for security checks.   

Rival hub Heathrow is also capping departures due to staff shortages amongst ground handlers in particular. Heathrow’s daily maximum is 100,000 departing passengers per day until September 11, 2022, although it has said the limits will stay until airlines ensure more staff are in place.  

British Airways said in a statement reported by local media on August 2, 2022, that it is halting new bookings on domestic and European services up until and including August 8, 2022 due to the LHR limits.  

Separately, Schiphol said on August 2, 2022, that there will be a maximum of 67,500 local departures per day in September and 69,500 per day in October. The airport has already been capping departures in July and August, with the maximum number of departing passengers per day at 73,000 in August.  

Schiphol said it had set the caps after consulting with airlines and that the purpose was to ensure the safety of passengers and employees, plus create a more reliable process at the airport. Setting a maximum limit on passengers also helps with flight delays.  

“Virtually all parties at the airport are understaffed, and any unexpected changes can result in delays to the entire airport process at Schiphol,” the airport said in a statement. “This has been the subject of extensive consultation with airlines in the recent period.”  

Dutch flag carrier KLM, which has been cancelling flights, previously described the situation as “relentless”.  

Schiphol said despite the caps, it still expected that there would be around 3,500 too many passengers a day during the two-week school vacation period in October. 

The disruption on commercial flights seems to be a boon for private jet operators. Luxaviation said on August 2, 2022 that it was being “inundated” with requests for private charters to summer destinations in Europe, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. Its UK-based office received between 800-1,050 enquiries a day in June and July, compared to 400 in April and May.  

“Incoming enquiries are off the scale, we’ve never experienced such a busy period,” declared George Galanopoulos, CEO, Luxaviation UK and head of charter sales Europe for the Luxaviation Group. “This is partly due to post-pandemic new users choosing to fly privately and safely, but also new users who want to avoid the current airport and airline chaos of delays and cancellations.” 


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