Dubai: Etihad Airways has adjusted its departure times on several flights to and from London Heathrow.
The airline said it will make a schedule adjustment to temporarily re-time flights EY25 and EY26 between Abu Dhabi and London to an earlier departure from July 27 to September 11.
Flight EY26 will now have an afternoon departure at Heathrow. Flights will depart at 3.55pm instead of the previous departure time of 8.45pm. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi to London flights (EY25) will depart at 8:50am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday. Flights used to take off at 10:40am earlier.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, the same flight will depart almost 90 minutes earlier at 9:15am. On Saturdays, the flights will depart Abu Dhabi at 9:25am.
“Etihad is continuing to work with the airport and the relevant authorities to relieve pressure at the airport while minimising the impact to our guests. This change is directly related to that process,” said the airline in a statement.
“Our teams are proactively reaching out to notify passengers ticketed on these flights of the new departure times,” the airline added.
Earlier this month, the airline said that it would continue to operate five daily return flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow for the rest of July, despite the airport operator’s decision to impose curbs on flight capacity.
Due to the caps and high passenger demand, fares on the route are almost double the normal rates.
An Etihad Airways flight to London Heathrow will cost passengers at least Dh4,000 right now. Fares will return to the Dh2,000-level after September 11 – the last date set by Heathrow for the restrictions.
These drastic moves by UK airports come as airlines and ground crews struggle to process a surge in travel demand. Due to staff shortages, airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights, causing massive inconvenience to travellers.
Emirates, which operates six daily A380s to London Heathrow, originally rejected Heathrow's demand for airlines to make capacity cuts at short notice, with the carrier saying the airport's demand was "unreasonable and unacceptable".
The Dubai airline later said it agreed to cap sales of its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August.
“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,” said the airline in a statement.