- The CEO of Heathrow Airport told Bloomberg that the current travel chaos could last until the end of 2023.
- He said it could take 12 to 18 months to resolve the flood of delays and cancellations, according to Bloomberg.
- Heathrow’s limit of 100,000 departing passengers per day may have to stand until then, he added.
Airline delays and disruptions amid the current post-pandemic travel boom could last another 18 months, according to the CEO of one of Europe’s busiest airports.
“This is not going to be a quick fix,” Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye told Bloomberg’s Christopher Jasper in a report published Tuesday.
Holland-Kaye told the newspaper that airlines still need to hire more staff to cope with increased travel demand and that the daily passenger limit imposed by Heathrow could remain in place until next summer.
“It’s absolutely possible that we could have another summer with a cap still in place. It will take 12 to 18 months, and not just at Heathrow,” Holland-Kaye told Bloomberg.
A deluge of flight cancellations, lost baggage incidents and disruptions have become a global nightmare for an aviation industry still reeling from waves of pandemic layoffs.
Airlines and airports have tried to explain the delays, sometimes blaming each other or even the color of suitcases and people working from home.
To deal with the chaos, Heathrow, on July 12, introduced a cap of 100,000 passengers a day flying from the airport. In the announcement, Holland-Kaye also asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets to “limit the impact on passengers”.
He told Bloomberg that airlines are responsible for hiring ground staff such as baggage handlers, bridge operators and check-in staff.
Heathrow has estimated that most airline ground operators only have about 70% of the staff they need to deal with passenger traffic at the same level as pre-pandemic levels.
Before the pandemic, Heathrow had been Europe’s busiest airport for years, handling up to 80 million passengers a year. In a June investor report, it said it expects to handle 54.4 million passengers this year.