Heathrow airport said the Dubai-based airline Emirates was putting “profit before safety” by not cutting flights because the airport doesn’t have enough staff or resources to deal with anticipated passenger numbers, reports the Telegraph.
A war of words broke out between the two sides on Thursday before the president of Emirates and the chief executive of Heathrow Airport held a “constructive” meeting together on Friday morning.
Following the meeting, the Dubai-based carrier said it 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.”
After first flat out refusing to comply with Heathrow’s passenger cap demands, the airline said it was now willing to artificially cap further sales on flights departing Heathrow until mid-August.
Heathrow had initially asked Emirates to reduce passenger numbers even further by offloading passengers from flights who had already bought tickets. That demand drew the ire of Emirates who accused Heathrow’s management of “incompetence”.
Airlines had been given just 36 hours notice to slash passenger numbers and had been given lists of flights that passengers should be offloaded from. Emirates said it would continue operating its flights to Heathrow as planned despite the threat of legal action.
Following Friday’s meeting between Emirates’ long-serving president Sir Tim Clark and embattled Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye, the airline confirmed all of its flights would continue as planned.
Emirates operates six daily flights to Heathrow with its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo, with a combined capacity for more than 3,000 passengers.
Government officials from the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have demanded a plan of action from Heathrow but the airport has pointed the finger of blame at airlines for not preparing for a strong rebound in passenger demand.
It has since emerged that the Heathrow Airline Operators’ Committee had written to Heathrow saying it was “deeply concerned” with the airport’s preparations for the summer and believed estimated passengers were too low.
Holland-Kaye reportedly said a surge in passenger numbers was “simply not credible” and, as a result, Heathrow did not hire enough staff for Summer 2022.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.