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British Airways Limits Short Haul Flight Sales From London Heathrow

British Airways has suspended ticket sales on short-haul flights from Heathrow until August 8. The decision follows the airline’s shock decision to suspend short-haul ticket sales over the last weekend in July. The move also comes in the wake of widely publicized operational problems at London’s Heathrow Airport and a request from that airport for customer airlines to trim capacity.

That snap suspension will see ticket sales on British Airways’ UK flights from London Heathrow, European routes, and flights to Morocco and Cairo paused up to and including August 8. The suspension will free up seats to accommodate passengers who’ve already had their flights canceled.


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 maximize rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry,” a British Airways spokesperson told Simple Flying.

Cancelations to help smooth out operational reliability

Heathrow Airport has imposed a passenger cap of 100,000 per day until at least mid-September. The cap, which is seeing airlines ax capacity, is designed to smooth out crippling operational issues at the UK’s busiest airport. However, some travel insiders are tipping that the passenger cap will be extended beyond mid-September.

British Airways points out that the temporary ticket suspensions only impact flights desde Heathrow. Tickets remain available for sale on flights to Heathrow on the affected routes over the period.

Before Heathrow’s horror summer season got underway, British Airways had already trimmed 16,000 flights, or 10% of its planned summer schedule, in April. This move followed recognition inside the airline that they would have difficulties meeting their planned summer schedule. The airline culled a further 1% of planned flights in early June and another 7% in early July. While unpopular with impacted passengers, forward planning has helped British Airways minimize its last-minute cancellations over the summer. In total, British Airways have canceled around 13% of its planned 2022 summer schedule.

Problems managing passengers’ baggage is one of the many ongoing challenges London Heathrow Airport faces. Photo: Getty Images.

Candid assessments of what’s gone wrong at Heathrow

This week, IAG Chief Executive Officer, Luis Gallego, said the situation at Heathrow was slowly improving but had some way to go. “The problem is not only us. It is a combination of actors in the ecosystem,” he said. “It is the airport, it is us for sure, it is air traffic control, it’s the providers. We need to do well together.”

Former IAG CEO and now IATA Director General Willie Walsh is less generous in his appraisal of London Heathrow. Speaking at the recent Farnborough Air Show, Mr Walsh was scathing in his assessment of the airport’s preparations for the 2022 summer and offered a candid view of the airport’s operators.

“They should have been ready. They should have been better prepared. The airport should be functioning better. So it’s ridiculous, but then Heathrow are a bunch of idiots, to be honest with you when it comes to running airports. They just don’ don’t know how to do it.”

British Airways isn’t the only airline to cut planned capacity, and Heathrow isn’t the only airport facing severe operational challenges. However, one of the immediate impacts regular BA passengers on these affected routes are seeing is a quick uptick in ticket prices. The ticket price rises come as demand for flights outstrips the supply of flights.

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