Emirates criticizes Heathrow for ‘incompetence’ over summer ‘airmageddon’

The Dubai-based airline on Thursday criticized London Heathrow’s demands made earlier this week. stop selling tickets for this summer.

The airline, which operates six daily flights from Heathrow, has rejected the new restrictions and called them “totally unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Heathrow, like other airports, is struggling to cope with recover in travelers after two years of restrictions due to the pandemic and staff cuts. On Tuesday, the airport said it would limit the daily number of departing passengers at 100,000 before 9/11.

“[London Heathrow] decided not to act, not to plan, not to invest. Now, faced with an “airmageddon” situation due to their incompetence and inaction, they are shifting the entire burden – the costs and the fight to clean up the mess – to the airlines and travelers,” the airline said in a statement.

The company said Heathrow gave it just 36 hours to meet the new limit. threatened with legal action against airlines that refuse to comply. He added that he had enough staff to handle flights at the airport.

Emirates said Heathrow’s management team was “cavalier about travelers and their airline customers” and failed to re-hire and train enough staff ahead of a predictable surge in summer travel.

On average, in 2018, Heathrow handled almost 220,000 passengers each day, divided into arrivals and departures.

A Heathrow spokesman told CNN Business that the main reason for delays and flight cancellations is the lack of airline ground handling teams. which, he said, are only 70% staffed at pre-pandemic levels.

“For several months we have been asking airlines to help develop a plan to solve their resource problems, but there were no clear plans, and every day the problem got worse,” the spokesman said.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kay said in an open letter to passengers on Tuesday that airlines have sold too many seats for the coming months.

“Daily departure seats during the summer will average 104,000 seats, resulting in a daily surplus of 4,000 seats. Currently, only about 1,500 of these 4,000 day seats have been sold to passengers on average,” the letter says.

Blame game

Emirates said it would be “impossible” to rebook all potentially affected passengers on new flights within the next few weeks.

It stated that the 100,000 per day limit on the number of departing passengers was a figure that “seems[ed] to [have been] taken from the air” and it will continue to operate as planned.

It’s not just Emirates that’s angry.

This was stated by the CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the former CEO of IAG, the owner of British Airways, Willie Walsh. interview with Reuters on Tuesday that the travel restrictions were “ridiculous”.

“The airlines were forecasting stronger traffic than Heathrow predicted… they were clearly wrong,” he said.

Walsh also accused Heathrow of trying to “maximize the profitability they get from the airport at the expense of the airlines”.

Heathrow dismissed Walsh’s comments.

“What we need is collaboration and investment in passenger protection services, not uninformed comments from former airline executives,” a spokesman for CNN Business said on Wednesday.

Sharon Brown-Peter contributed reporting.