Airport chaos continues with passenger caps and pilot strikes

British Airways has stopped ticket sales on short haul flights from London’s Heathrow Airport due to daily passenger caps being imposed and EasyJet pilots in Spain are planning a nine-day walkout, leaving many to wonder if air travel will ever get back on track.

The summer travel season has been fraught thus far with mass cancellations, baggage issues and delays, and August doesn’t appear to be revealing a much rosier picture.

British Airways, who have stirred ire in passengers in recent weeks with a spate of last-minute cancellations, has announced they have stopped ticket sales of short haul flights altogether out of London’s biggest airport, Heathrow, until 8th August. The decision came as a needs-must solution to the daily passenger cap the airport has imposed over the summer.

The carrier’s sales suspension will not only wreak havoc domestically, but it will also be disruptive for those trying to get to European destinations as well.

BA said in a statement that, “As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we’ve decided to take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry.”

The Heathrow cap, which limits passengers departing each day to 100,000, is set to remain in place until 11thSeptember.

Meanwhile in Spain, pilots for low-cost carrier EasyJet have announced a nine-day strike over pay and working conditions this month.

The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (SEPLA) said there will be three 72-hour strikes taking place from 12th to 14th, 19th to 21st and 27th to 29th August. The Union is asking that working conditions for pilots are restored to the way they were pre-pandemic. It also wants multi-year contracts to be given to pilots.

“This is the last possible recourse, as all attempts by the pilots’ representatives to reach an agreement have failed,” SEPLA said, and added that conditions for Spanish pilots are worse than for those in other countries in Europe.

The strikes are expected to affect flights in Barcelona, Malaga and Palma.

Spain’s travel woes may not end there, as Ryan Air cabin crews are threatening five months of strikes starting this month as well. Their walkouts are set to run from Monday through Thursday every week.

The travel mess has been blamed on a near-perfect storm of staff shortages following pandemic-driven layoffs, and the cost-of-living crisis, which is spurring workers to demand better pay and conditions.





Photo source: Tomek Baginski on Unsplash