Travel chaos has continued in the UK, and it was revealed on Monday, 20 June that Heathrow Airport asked airlines to cut 10 percent of their flights due to a huge baggage backlog.
Passengers claimed that the luggage belts were not working, leading to staff having to place all the suitcases together manually, causing a huge backlog.
It’s reported that the events unfolding on Monday could see around 15,000 passengers impacted, in one of Europe’s busiest airports.
Photos circulating online showed a portion of the airport completely covered with multiple piles of luggage.
How busy is Heathrow Airport?
For many years, Heathrow Airport was the busiest in Europe, but as the Coronavirus pandemic came, Heathrow was convincingly knocked off of top spot and now operates as the fifth busiest airport in Europe.
Heathrow is currently experiencing a big boost in passengers, too. It was reported that the passenger traffic at Heathrow in May was their busiest month since the pandemic began.
Which flights have been cancelled from Heathrow today? (Thursday, 23 June)
- 5:10pm - Amsterdam, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- 2:40pm - Ibiza, British Airways
- 7:15pm - Amsterdam, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
What is the chaos unfolding at Heathrow?
Heathrow is seeing a surge in passengers, and recently recorded its busiest month in May since the pandemic began, as people look to go abroad for the first time in a long time, as pretty much all travel restrictions have been lifted.
Queues have plagued many airports around the world, with Heathrow arguably the worst hit.
During the pandemic, as all air travel came to a halt, airports and airlines alike had to axe staff, and now the staff shortages are contributing to the chaos we have seen.
A Heathrow boss recently revealed that the problems happening to airports now could last for 12 - 18 months as we come out of the pandemic.
How long can we expect the chaos to continue?
With a surge in people flying out on holiday expected during the summer holidays, which is just over a month away, it is possible that chaos may ensue, but it is not easy to predict timelines.
The UK travel industry is expecting a massive bounce back this summer, with travel restrictions eased and the public’s overall attitude to Covid-19 changing.
Johan Lundgren, the chief executive of easyJet said: “We see a strong summer ahead, with pent-up demand that will see easyJet returning to near 2019 levels of capacity, with UK beach and leisure routes performing particularly well”.
Will more flights be cut in the coming weeks?
It’s currently unknown how many more flights are set to be cut in the coming weeks, but summer is the busiest period in the aviation industry, and when the sector has been arguably the hardest hit and has had low income over the past two years, it will be a welcome time.
Heathrow may decide to follow in the footsteps of Gatwick Airport, who have decided to cut a number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August, down from 900 in previous years, due to staff shortages.