Emirates Rejects Heathrow’s Request To Cancel Flights (Update)

Emirates Rejects Heathrow’s Request To Cancel Flights (Update)

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Update: Heathrow & Emirates have issued a joint statement, and the airline has agreed to cap the sale of flights through mid-August. You can find the statement below, and then underneath that is the original post from July 14, 2022.

“The President of Emirates Airline and the CEO of Heathrow Airport held a constructive meeting this morning. Emirates agreed the airline was ready and willing to work with the airport to remediate the situation over the next 2 weeks, to keep demand and capacity in balance and provide passengers with a smooth and reliable journey through Heathrow this summer.

Emirates has capped further sales on its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August to assist Heathrow in its resource ramp up, and is working to adjust capacity. In the meantime, Emirates flights from Heathrow operate as scheduled and ticketed passengers may travel as booked.”

Earlier this week, Heathrow Airport informed airlines that they’d need to reduce the number of passengers they book through the airport for the next two months, because the airport simply doesn’t have the capacity to handle the increase in demand.

Heathrow estimates that as of now, an average of 101,500 daily passengers are booked through the airport for the remainder of the summer, but the airport is asking airlines to reduce passenger numbers to an average of 100,000 per day.

It looks like not all airlines are going to be complying with these new rules, at least without a fight. Emirates has just published a rather scathing statement about the situation.

Emirates’ statement on Heathrow Airport request

Emirates has published a statement about the situation at Heathrow Airport, calling it “entirely unreasonable and unacceptable,” and stating that Heathrow management is “cavalier about travellers and their airline customers.” The Dubai-based airline is rejecting Heathrow’s demands.

I’d paraphrase, but the statement is so good that I think it has to be shared in its entirety.

Emirates values our partnerships with airport stakeholders across our network with whom we engage continuously, and collaboratively, to secure our flight operations and ensure minimal customer disruption, particularly over the peak travel months.

It is therefore highly regrettable that LHR last evening gave us 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts, of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air. Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.

This is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands.

At London Heathrow airport (LHR), our ground handling and catering – run by dnata, part of the Emirates Group – are fully ready and capable of handling our flights. So the crux of the issue lies with the central services and systems which are the responsibility of the airport operator.

Emirates is a key and steadfast operator at LHR, having reinstated 6 daily A380 flights since October 2021. From our past 10 months of regularly high seat loads, our operational requirements cannot be a surprise to the airport.

Now, with blatant disregard for consumers, they wish to force Emirates to deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers who have paid for, and booked months ahead, their long-awaited package holidays or trips to see their loved ones. And this, during the super peak period with the upcoming UK holidays, and at a time when many people are desperate to travel after 2 years of pandemic restrictions.

Emirates believes in doing the right thing by our customers. However, re-booking the sheer numbers of potentially impacted passengers is impossible with all flights running full for the next weeks, including at other London airports and on other airlines. Adding to the complexity, 70% of our customers from LHR are headed beyond Dubai to see loved ones in far flung destinations, and it will be impossible to find them new onward connections at short notice.

Moving some of our passenger operations to other UK airports at such short notice is also not realistic. Ensuring ground readiness to handle and turnaround a widebody long-haul aircraft with 500 passengers onboard is not as simple as finding a parking spot at a mall.

The bottomline is, the LHR management team are cavalier about travellers and their airline customers. All the signals of a strong travel rebound were there, and for months, Emirates has been publicly vocal about the matter.  We planned ahead to get to a state of readiness to serve customers and travel demand, including rehiring and training 1,000 A380 pilots in the past year.

LHR chose not to act, not to plan, not to invest. Now faced with an “airmageddon” situation due to their incompetence and non-action, they are pushing the entire burden – of costs and the scramble to sort the mess – to airlines and travellers.

The shareholders of London Heathrow should scrutinise the decisions of the LHR management team.

Given the tremendous value that the aviation community generates for the UK economy and communities, we welcome the action taken by the UK Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority to seek information from LHR on their response plans, systems resilience, and to explain the seemingly arbitrary cap of 100,000 daily passengers. Considering LHR handled 80.9 million passengers annually in 2019, or a daily average of 219,000, the cap represents greater than a 50% cut at a time when LHR claims to have 70% of ground handling resources in place. 

Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from LHR.

Emirates doesn’t want to reduce flights to Heathrow

Emirates is spot on

Emirates’ statement on this situation is convincing:

  • As much as many airlines and airports would have you believe otherwise, the increase in travel demand this summer shouldn’t have come as a surprise, and there was plenty of time to prepare
  • It’s a bit ridiculous that Heathrow imposes this limit on such short notice, especially since it’s not like anything changed overnight
  • It’s not really fair to airline customers or passengers that Heathrow’s lack of planning is their responsibility

The one thing that Emirates is not correct about is the claim that Heathrow had 219K daily average travelers in 2019, and the cap is now 100K daily travelers, representing a ~54% reduction in traffic compared to 2019. That’s not quite correct, since the 219K number includes arrivals and departures, while the 100K cap only includes departures.

Now, while I absolutely think Emirates is correct big picture, I can’t help but wonder how this is going to play out.

Presumably Heathrow won’t just take Emirates saying “no” as an answer, or else other airlines may try the same. However, it seems Heathrow needs to take on more of the burden of the cancelations. Will this turn into a big lawsuit, or how else could this play out?

Furthermore, while Emirates is correct about Heathrow’s incompetence, the reality is that Heathrow is a mess right now. Yes, that shouldn’t be Emirates’ problem, but…

Should airlines be on the hook for Heathrow’s issues?

Bottom line

Heathrow Airport has asked airlines to cap passenger numbers over the next couple of months, in order to ensure smooth operations. Emirates has published a statement on the situation, claiming that it doesn’t intend to comply, and calling Heathrow’s policy unacceptable.

Emirates is absolutely correct here, if you ask me, but I’m not sure that’ll be worth a whole lot in the end…

What do you make of Emirates’ response to Heathrow?

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  1. DT Guest

    Hi Ben,

    What's your take on the other saga between JQ/3K and SIN?

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/no-intention-of-moving-jetstar-fires-back-at-changi-airports-decision-to-relocate-it-to-t4

  2. Andrew Diamond

    EK's statement might be the best press release I've ever read. Awesome.

  3. Fred Guest

    Ben, welcome to British politics. Which of course cannot be blamed on the recent resignation of the PM. As Emirates points out, these issues were on the table months before when the government was fully aware, but inaction.
    Really sorry to hear this news because LHR was a nice place, fairly organised, a great hub. It is sad.
    But we must keep that strong upper lip and press on, at least I am happy to see Emirates pressing onwards.

  4. OnlyFirst Guest

    Could it be possible for LHR senior management to move out of their Ivory Tower and get themselves out into the business. See the wasteful practices at Security and Baggage handling so they can work hard with their employees, unions and the public to become as efficient as most Asian airports already are.

  5. Carrie Member

    I do love a well crafted response, albeit with a small error, to an unreasonable legal threat. Thank you Ben for printing the missive in its full glory as it was an absolute joy to read. No doubt you have excellent abridging skills, but it is important to absorb the full delight of this intelligent 'get stuffed'!

  6. Randy Hill Guest

    So Emirates wants to force Heathrow to be a hell hole for their customers and other airline passengers rather than make a minor cut in flights?

  7. Karl Marx Guest

    Why do state-owned airports not have this problem?

  8. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Now that Emirates managed to "negotiate" a cap for only month instead of two, you can bet every other airline will be doing the same thing or the airport will be forced to quietly drop the caps.
    Emirates pushed back and got less than what was imposed.
    It appears Emirates won.

  9. Stuart Guest

    The update on this is nothing more than allowing everyone to save face. The reality is that EK's LHR flights are probably already 95% booked given the August holiday demand. As well, they can always sell LGW seats for any spillover last minute bookings, though these are minimal in August given how little business traffic there is that month. This is a big old nothing in the end, lol. Well done, EK.

  10. Steven Guest

    The problem for UK airlines and Airports is Unemployment is at its lowest in many years, especially in and around London. They let all these people go during Covid who got other jobs and can't physically get them back.

    Brexit has finally happened and statistically a lot of these rolls were filled by Europeans who didn't mind lower pay, in the inconvenience and expense of traveling to the facilities and working hours and conditions...all...

    The problem for UK airlines and Airports is Unemployment is at its lowest in many years, especially in and around London. They let all these people go during Covid who got other jobs and can't physically get them back.

    Brexit has finally happened and statistically a lot of these rolls were filled by Europeans who didn't mind lower pay, in the inconvenience and expense of traveling to the facilities and working hours and conditions...all that is gone now and not easily replaceable.

    As they say a perfect storm

  11. Denise Guest

    I completely agree with their stance and wish American had taken that same aporoach. Im flying thrpugh heathrow next week and they cancelled the yk internal leg WITHOUT either letter me know or rebooking. The volume of travellers is NOT a surprise as they have been taking our money for months now

  12. Peter Guest

    First class response to LHR by Emirates, the airport has gone downhill for years, sky high passenger fees while delivering unacceptable poor service. Dubai delivers first class service because they invested to be ready, time for the government to force action and make LHR deliver what we are forced to pay for.

    1. SA Participant Guest

      Dubai airport employees are from all over the world with most of them from South Asia. I don't think LHR can do that.

  13. Peter hartog Guest

    Absolutely a first class response by Emirates, as a frequent flyer I have found Heathrow airport has been deteriorating for a number of years now, to the point where I will only use it as a last resort. The airport is mismanaged and fails to deliver anywhere near an acceptable service despite charging one of the highest passenger service fees in the world. It's now time for the government to become involved and force the...

    Absolutely a first class response by Emirates, as a frequent flyer I have found Heathrow airport has been deteriorating for a number of years now, to the point where I will only use it as a last resort. The airport is mismanaged and fails to deliver anywhere near an acceptable service despite charging one of the highest passenger service fees in the world. It's now time for the government to become involved and force the clearly incompetent management to deliver the service we are forced to pay instead of blaming any one for their failures. As Emirates point out they invested in people to be ready for the return to travel and Heathrow did zero despite taking huge handouts from the Government to help with the cost. I and many many others agree with and support Emirates and will making the them my carrier of choice.

  14. Franklin Guest

    I'd be more sympathetic if LHR didn't have its insane passnger fees, and if they airport was less transparently focused on in-airport sales. With the kind of money they're asking for, they should absolutely be delivering a premium experience. I'm very glad to see Emirates do this.

  15. Dr Dolittle Guest

    Heathrow's attitude is hardly unsurprising. It's the Western way, it's always someone else's fault.

  16. Josh Guest

    LHR should no longer be considered a gateway and transportation hub if it cannot handle the pressure. They should also cut those ridiculous departure fees, even if imposed by the UK government. If you can't handle passenger demand, you should not be that bull, LHR deserves all the negative publicity they are getting.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      Absolutely this. It's one of the shittiest hubs in Europe, island or mainland. I get that we basically defaulted to it from the US/Canada as our nations were birthed from England - common language, ancestry, (sordid) past, yadda yadda yadda... But it's high time we invest in the much better, closer/regional hubs that mainland Europe has to offer and spreadload the flights. Brexit hurt. Covid hurt. We get that, but LHR was a disaster way...

      Absolutely this. It's one of the shittiest hubs in Europe, island or mainland. I get that we basically defaulted to it from the US/Canada as our nations were birthed from England - common language, ancestry, (sordid) past, yadda yadda yadda... But it's high time we invest in the much better, closer/regional hubs that mainland Europe has to offer and spreadload the flights. Brexit hurt. Covid hurt. We get that, but LHR was a disaster way before any of that yet the North American 4, save maybe DL because of JVs, keep thinking LHR is the *it* place. Possibly for biz travel, yes, but let's see how that weathers the out years of Brexit now that they're not part of the EU. I know I purposed never route through LHR anymore because it's just such a shitshow in every possible way. I love London but I'd rather fly into CDG then onward (and that's saying a lot, because it's also a disaster given French work ethic/politics) just to avoid dealing with ::gestures vaguely:: that.

  17. Randy Guest

    Yeah baby! It's called "push back" and it doesn't just happen to the aircraft.. Right On EM! You RoCk.

  18. Michael Lissack Guest

    Heathrow has lease agreements with the airlines. The demand to lower capacity absent "force majeure" is a violation of the lease. Heathrow CANNOT claim force majeure for things easily explained by incompetence. EMIRATES WINS.

  19. Austin Guest

    Ben - I have a flight connecting through LHR (US-LHR-JNB) August 8th. There’s only one LHR-JNB flight a day, what are the chances the flight gets cancelled?

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Ausin

      Switch your award to Qatar if you’re leaving from the US and on OW.

  20. BookLvr Gold

    I love that "airmageddon" is in Emirates' official statement to the press.

    I agree with Emirates that imposing this policy only 36 hours before it is due to take effect puts impacted passengers in a pretty untenable position. If a passenger were flying to another country to attend a specific event (e.g., a wedding), they can't move off the trip to the next date on which there are available seats.

    Emirates may need to...

    I love that "airmageddon" is in Emirates' official statement to the press.

    I agree with Emirates that imposing this policy only 36 hours before it is due to take effect puts impacted passengers in a pretty untenable position. If a passenger were flying to another country to attend a specific event (e.g., a wedding), they can't move off the trip to the next date on which there are available seats.

    Emirates may need to cooperate in coming up with a medium-term plan, but I do not blame them for being acerbic if they were being given only 36 hours to comply.

  21. Hobbs Guest

    That LHR passenger fee increase is certainly being well spent, innit?

    1. Heathrow Board of Directors Guest

      Big bonus for the CEO and dividends resuming for shareholders this year! Now if airlines would just stop bringing more people here, nobody will notice we didn’t actually reinvest any of those increased fee revenues…

  22. Tim Dunn Diamond

    As I noted earlier this week, airports can't just decide they are going to change negotiated international agreements because the airports can't manage what they agreed to in terms of capacity
    The economic reason why Emirates is justified in not bowing to Heathrow is because British Airways is by far the largest carrier at LHR and they can cut some of their short haul flights and have a disproportionately smaller financial impact by cutting...

    As I noted earlier this week, airports can't just decide they are going to change negotiated international agreements because the airports can't manage what they agreed to in terms of capacity
    The economic reason why Emirates is justified in not bowing to Heathrow is because British Airways is by far the largest carrier at LHR and they can cut some of their short haul flights and have a disproportionately smaller financial impact by cutting the same amount of capacity than a carrier like Emirates which is all international longhaul traffic from LHR.
    And the logistic argument is that LHR must have seen this developing and it isn't realistic to demand immediate compliance for a problem that didn't just development overnight.
    Most of the large carriers at LHR are in some sort of alliance so AA-BA and DL-VS have to agree because the British government can make life really hard for the British carrier and even for short haul European airlines like the Star Alliance at LHR. EK is not in an alliance and so can't shift capacity to someone else and also won't be hurt if the British "take it out" on one specific airline.

    LHR needs to figure out how to make it work today based on the agreements that the UK has signed.

    Presumably, airlines that cut flights will have their slots protected rather than being forced to operate the same flights but with lower load factors. that would be nice to know

  23. Chris Guest

    Airlines and airports need to work through this travel crisis together. Being the largest airline in the world backed by government oil money does not grant you special privilege.

    1. Sarah Guest

      No. Having lease agreements with the airport that allow the scheduled flights grants Emirates a “special privilege” to tell LHR to bugger off.

      Also, you seem to have skipped the letter. Emirates did its part to work through this - LHR decided to not do its part, and the “travel crisis” at LHR is a direct consequence of the airport’s own poor management. No airline has any responsibility to bear the costs of LHR’s poor management.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      For the sake of accuracy: EK isn't the largest (nor second, nor third) airline in the world, and the Dubai-based government doesn't have much in the way of oil money (that'd be the Abu Dhabi government, which has its own troubled pet aviation project).

  24. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Bravo to Emirates for calling out yet another bloated, corrupt and lazy European airport board. As stated in the article, the fact that this summer has been busy comes as no surprise. And airports like LHR and AMS (and they're far from alone - there are many others) totally dropped the ball. What I saw at Schiphol was a disgrace and I'm sure that LHR and others are no different. A complete lack of planning...

    Bravo to Emirates for calling out yet another bloated, corrupt and lazy European airport board. As stated in the article, the fact that this summer has been busy comes as no surprise. And airports like LHR and AMS (and they're far from alone - there are many others) totally dropped the ball. What I saw at Schiphol was a disgrace and I'm sure that LHR and others are no different. A complete lack of planning or preparedness. How dare LHR's authorities start making such dictates to airlines - to cover for their own negligence?

  25. vbscript2 Guest

    Yeah, the other comments pointing out the total pax vs. departures only are correct. Per the monthly statistics on Heathrow's website, they had 6.0 million passengers in June 2022, an average of 200,000/day. Their monthly record high is 7.8 million from July 2018 (with July 2019 being about the same.)

    Emirates is egregiously wrong about the numbers here. You'd think that they'd have their powder dry before issuing such a scathing letter, which makes one...

    Yeah, the other comments pointing out the total pax vs. departures only are correct. Per the monthly statistics on Heathrow's website, they had 6.0 million passengers in June 2022, an average of 200,000/day. Their monthly record high is 7.8 million from July 2018 (with July 2019 being about the same.)

    Emirates is egregiously wrong about the numbers here. You'd think that they'd have their powder dry before issuing such a scathing letter, which makes one wonder whether this 'mistake' was intentional. Surely Emirates is aware that Heathrow isn't really operating at less than half normal capacity during the current travel surge in Europe and North America.

    While I'd agree with Emirates that Heathrow needs to do everything it can to fix its capacity problems as soon as possible rather than trying to pass those problems on to the airlines and passengers, Emirates characterization of the situation is demonstrably false. And so egregiously false that it should have been easy for them to figure that out before hitting the publish button.

  26. Evan Guest

    To single out Heathrow is unfair. Yes, Heathrow is a mess, but look at the other airports with staffing issues situation (looking at you AMS). Look at air traffic control systems with staffing issues (FAA). Heck, look at the number of airlines in chaos with staffing issues, both in the US and elsewhere - meltdowns, cancellations, etc.

    My point is this...the entire air travel system was unprepared, not just Heathrow. This article acts like Heathrow...

    To single out Heathrow is unfair. Yes, Heathrow is a mess, but look at the other airports with staffing issues situation (looking at you AMS). Look at air traffic control systems with staffing issues (FAA). Heck, look at the number of airlines in chaos with staffing issues, both in the US and elsewhere - meltdowns, cancellations, etc.

    My point is this...the entire air travel system was unprepared, not just Heathrow. This article acts like Heathrow is the only airport in chaos, which in reality is far from the truth.

    Emirates' response also highlights the continual blame game that's been played since the chaos started Until the airlines, airports and governments work as a team to solve the issues, we're going to be in this mess for a long time, and in the end, the customer loses. Yeah for Emirates on being prepared (as they say) and shame on Heathrow for not; however - it's reality. So Emirates will fly the same number of people in and out of an airport that can't handle the capacity, which means those customer will face long waits for security, immigration, baggage., etc. all for Emirates to prove a point.

    Suck up the egos, quit thumping your chests and work on solutions instead of playing the blame game.

    1. Sarah Guest

      Most people with travel plans would prefer to have a few hours’ wait at LHR than to have their trip entirely canceled.

      As for egos and chest thumping … LHR sent Emirates an email basically saying, “here’s a long list of flights you need to cut (and carry the cost on) because we aren’t prepared, do it within 36 hours or we’ll sue you.” LHR deserved this response.

  27. JonO Guest

    Frankly they need to turn their security screening down a notch - it’s complete overkill with such uneccessary high volume extra screening/swabbing anyone who has been through this stricture since 2001 know how redundant it is!!!!! (Dublin, I’m looking at you too!!!!)

    1. AA70 Gold

      The US has become so laxed with security and other countries are still very strict. Once I got to SEA and realized I had my 6oz tube of toothpaste. Yet Heathrow transit security confiscated my 4.2oz container of hair product. A real menace to society I must be with that extra ounce

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Right?! I got singled out, and forced to wait for nearly 20min despite the latter leg on my MSY-LHR-CAI flight calling boarding, because...... I used a gallon sized Ziplock bag of toiletries, instead of the 20cm2 size.

      Seriously.

  28. D3kingg Guest

    This is a you problem not the problem of his highness Al Maktoum. Deal with it Heathrow and us av geeks cannot afford a huge loss of emirates first class suites capacity.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Orrrrr, a more realistic approach would be: Emirates reaffirming that (1) the UAE and UK have a bilateral agreement on capacity allotment, that LHR doesn't have the legal authority to just change on a 36hr whim, and (2) EK and LHR have lease agreements, that LHR doesn't have the authority to just change on a whim.

      How is it any of the Al Maktoums' problem or issue, that their airline is (correctly) reminding LHR management of those two established facts?

  29. Rav Guest

    Poor, poor Emirates. I'm crying for you. Follow the emergency rules. Every other Airline has to comply. Your stupid government funded Airline is not exempt from this. Simply don't allow Emirates to abuse this Heathrow. Emirates is not the boss here.

    1. ANDREW Guest

      Are you bloody serious? Which planet are you from? Heathrow's patently obvious incompetence and unpreparedness cannot be papered over by totally unreasonable demands on carriers to cut flights within 36 hours! LHR management need to get real, grow up and pull the finger out!

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "Every other Airline has to comply."

      Actually, no.... they don't.

      Neither Heathrow nor the CAA has the unilateral authority to compel carriers in such a way, which is exactly why EK is telling them to sod off.

  30. DenB Diamond

    Airport: Traffic more than we can currentlyhandle, please slow down.
    Emirates: Since the problem is your fault, we're gonna pretend there's no problem.

  31. Donato Guest

    Perhaps the goal was simply to help some airlines cancel certain flights that were not profitable anyway. This would be giving the airline a free pass and might lead to a fair amount of cancelled flights with no stigma or reputational loss to the airline.

  32. Alonzo Diamond

    As always, there's a whole lot of yeah buts here.

  33. Khatl Gold

    Good on Emirates. Call it out for what it is. 70% of staff at LHR but can only cope with 40% of passengers. LHR management needs to be taken to task. Surprised none of the other airlines with significant slots - looking at you BA/Virgin have made their voices heard in the same manner. BA trying to cut loads a little thru emails yesterday indicating if passengers want to voluntarily change from now thru July...

    Good on Emirates. Call it out for what it is. 70% of staff at LHR but can only cope with 40% of passengers. LHR management needs to be taken to task. Surprised none of the other airlines with significant slots - looking at you BA/Virgin have made their voices heard in the same manner. BA trying to cut loads a little thru emails yesterday indicating if passengers want to voluntarily change from now thru July 25 to any time in the next year, they can do it for free. LOL. Here it is in full

    "Dear Customer,

    We are getting in touch as you are due to travel with us on or before __________.

    You may have seen in the news that airports across the world have imposed restrictions on the number of flights that airlines can operate. This week Heathrow Airport has set a passenger limit per day until September 2022. As a result, they have told us to adjust our flying schedule to reduce the number of customers using the airport this summer.

    We understand that some customers may want to review their travel plans in light of the current travel challenges. We want to be as flexible as possible so that you can move your flights if you wish.

    If you are due to travel between now and _________ and you wish to change your flights, we have introduced a policy that will allow you to easily change your travel dates via our website. This means you can rebook onto a British Airways operated service free of charge to any date within the next 12 months of your original date of travel, subject to availability.

    You can do this simply by logging into your booking _______.

    Alternatively, if you decide that you no longer wish to travel, you can request a voucher for the value of your booking and when you are ready to use your voucher to book new flights, you can do so online. The voucher will be valid for travel before the 30 September 2023.

    To request a voucher, click ____

    If you have booked via a travel agent, please contact them directly to discuss your options.

    If your flight is part of a British Airways Holidays package, you can review your options ____

    Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

    British Airways"

    1. Rav Guest

      Emirates is wrong, wrong, wrong period. Don't allow their passengers to decline. Problem solved.

    2. Rav Guest

      ***correction***Don't allow passengers to deplane. Not decline.

  34. Bruce Guest

    @BenSchlappig The 80.9 million figure is passengers both arriving and departing, whereas the 101,500 figure is I think just for departing passengers (I might be wrong though). This would mean Heathrow is actually operating close to 90% of its daily average of 2019. Having said that, Heathrow was averaging 219,000 passengers a day across the whole year in 2019, and in the summer of 2019 I'm sure the daily passenger count was a lot higher than that.

    1. Mike Guest

      The fun thing is we don't have to actually guess. Heathrow actually publishes their traffic numbers on their website (https://www.heathrow.com/company/investor-centre/reports/traffic-statistics). June 2019 the passenger traffic was 7,246,563, June 2022 the passenger traffic was 5,990,385, 83% of June 2019. Looks like your guess was pretty close!

      While yes, we've known this was probably coming for a while, traffic double between February of this year and June (almost doubled by May). In 2019 traffic went up by...

      The fun thing is we don't have to actually guess. Heathrow actually publishes their traffic numbers on their website (https://www.heathrow.com/company/investor-centre/reports/traffic-statistics). June 2019 the passenger traffic was 7,246,563, June 2022 the passenger traffic was 5,990,385, 83% of June 2019. Looks like your guess was pretty close!

      While yes, we've known this was probably coming for a while, traffic double between February of this year and June (almost doubled by May). In 2019 traffic went up by 30% between February and June as opposed to over 100% that it did this year.

      On the other hand, these numbers have been going up steadily since March/April. Springing this on airlines at such short notice is inexcusable. If they'd done it back then, it more than likely may have been manageable.

  35. Ray Brown Guest

    I appreciate Emirates total response & stance as LHR & the UK in general is far too complacent & brazenly audacious as well when you consider the departure tax amount passengers have to pay to use this inefficient airport. Thanks Emirates as you are 100 per cent right.

  36. John Guest

    You state that Heathrow formerly averaged 219K passengers a day. The articles and TV news that I have read/seen have all suggested that Heathrow would like to limit daily departures to 100K passengers. That figure does not include arrivals.

    That does not sound like a 50% reduction to me.

  37. Creditcrunch Diamond

    Although I agree that LHR in one hand lobbied for a return to norm and lift all travel restrictions they should have been better prepared for that norm, however I feel sorry for the EK and other passengers once they land and we will see a return of last summers scenes of passengers having to remain on planes as the immigration halls were unable to cope with people waiting on some days 6 hours to...

    Although I agree that LHR in one hand lobbied for a return to norm and lift all travel restrictions they should have been better prepared for that norm, however I feel sorry for the EK and other passengers once they land and we will see a return of last summers scenes of passengers having to remain on planes as the immigration halls were unable to cope with people waiting on some days 6 hours to get through. It will interesting watching this unfold over the next few hours and days.

  38. Rob Guest

    It is strange how the management team gave the CEO of Heathrow a 26% Pay rise if they cannot plan ahead, it makes the Boris Johnson mess look like a minor incident. If the management sack the staff instead of putting them on furlow then expect everyone to come back at their call, it looks as if they could not even plan to go to the pub without a problem

  39. Ashok Guest

    Emirates is absolutely right. Heathrow's mismanaged is to ne dealt by themselves. After such disasters to aviation everyone should welcome travelers and airlines and increase capacity. Emirates has always grown and has invested so much in its staff. Heathrow has done just the opposite. If Emirates managed LHR they would do better.

  40. The nice Paul Guest

    Heathrow is indeed a hot mess, and it’s doubly irritating because their CEO has for months been a sort of rent-a-gob spokesman demanding the ending of many covid restrictions and the faster opening-up of travel.

    Emirates is bang-on with their statement.

    Equally, the other main European hub I mostly use — Schipol — is also a hot mess. For years they’ve traded on a reputation for easy connections which they no longer deserve.

    KLM...

    Heathrow is indeed a hot mess, and it’s doubly irritating because their CEO has for months been a sort of rent-a-gob spokesman demanding the ending of many covid restrictions and the faster opening-up of travel.

    Emirates is bang-on with their statement.

    Equally, the other main European hub I mostly use — Schipol — is also a hot mess. For years they’ve traded on a reputation for easy connections which they no longer deserve.

    KLM also seems to be a bit chaotic, with booked flights being seemingly randomly changed and 50 minute connections magically becoming 4 hour waits. (I’m cross with KLM anyway — they shout about all the action they’ve taken to protect passenger health, then they park their plane at a remote stand and cram everyone into a bus. 1.5 metre (5’) distance? You’re lucky if you’ve got even 0.3m (1’) separating you from another passenger breathing directly into your face.)

  41. Russell Guest

    I agree with the Emirates statement 100 per cent. Its Heathrow's mismanagement.

    1. Ray Guest

      Failure to prepare on Heathrow’s part does not constitute an emergency on Emirates’ part.

    2. Sarah Guest

      Not really. LHR could have increased to full capacity, it just chose not to do so. LHR still can get back to 100% capacity, it just doesn’t want to pay the price of doing so - and is demanding that airlines face increased costs instead.

      LHR could have avoided this, and can fix it.

  42. AnishReddi New Member

    Wasn't Emirates already asked to reduce from 6 to 5 daily services and hadn't they agreed, a feww weeks ago? If so what Heathrow is asking is been more preposterous.

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stogieguy7 Diamond

Bravo to Emirates for calling out yet another bloated, corrupt and lazy European airport board. As stated in the article, the fact that this summer has been busy comes as no surprise. And airports like LHR and AMS (and they're far from alone - there are many others) totally dropped the ball. What I saw at Schiphol was a disgrace and I'm sure that LHR and others are no different. A complete lack of planning or preparedness. How dare LHR's authorities start making such dictates to airlines - to cover for their own negligence?

7
ANDREW Guest

Are you bloody serious? Which planet are you from? Heathrow's patently obvious incompetence and unpreparedness cannot be papered over by totally unreasonable demands on carriers to cut flights within 36 hours! LHR management need to get real, grow up and pull the finger out!

5
Sarah Guest

Most people with travel plans would prefer to have a few hours’ wait at LHR than to have their trip entirely canceled. As for egos and chest thumping … LHR sent Emirates an email basically saying, “here’s a long list of flights you need to cut (and carry the cost on) because we aren’t prepared, do it within 36 hours or we’ll sue you.” LHR deserved this response.

5
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