Emirates
According to market sources, Emirates flights to the UK has been operating at near or full capacity in recent weeks. More so as many holiday travellers decided to opt for a UK trip after difficulties getting a visa for Europe. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Emirates airline on Friday said it has agreed to cap sales of its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August, after the airport asked carriers to scale back capacity.

“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.

In the meantime, Emirates flights from Heathrow operate as scheduled and ticketed passengers may travel as booked.

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In a joint statement, Emirates and Heathrow said they had come to an agreement.

"Emirates agreed the airline was ready and willing to work with the airport to remediate the situation over the next two weeks, to keep demand and capacity in balance and provide passengers with a smooth and reliable journey through Heathrow this summer," said Emirates Airlines President Sir Tim Clark and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.

Emirates originally rejected Heathrow's plea for airlines to make capacity cuts at short notice, with the carrier saying the airport's demand was "unreasonable and unacceptable".

“It is highly regrettable that London Heathrow last evening gave us 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts, of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air,” said an airline spokesperson. “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.”

The airline had accused the airport of having a "blatant disregard" for customers after Heathrow capped passenger numbers at 100,000 per day during the summer, adding that the airport faced "an 'airmageddon' situation due to their incompetence and non-action".

Emirates has been operating six daily A380s to London Heathrow since October 2021.

Heathrow’s two-month cap
London’s Heathrow airport on Tuesday imposed a two-month cap on daily passenger traffic, a dramatic response by the country’s busiest airport to the flight chaos that has gripped Europe for weeks as airlines and ground crews struggle to process a surge in travel demand. The airport will limit daily passenger traffic to 100,000 people through September 11, asking airlines to refrain from selling summer tickets.

The move comes in reaction to ground staffing that Heathrow said is not yet “up to full speed” as it rushed to replenish its workforce with new recruits. Some key functions, like ground handlers for baggage, remain “significantly under resourced”, according to the airport.