Australians planning to fly to London face months of high prices after Heathrow said it would extend its controversial capacity cap until 29 October.
Last month, the UK airport stunned the industry when it told global airlines to “stop selling summer tickets” in a move Emirates branded “airmageddon”.
Heathrow has now announced the 100,000-passenger limit will stretch until the end of the summer season, claiming the cap has already resulted in “fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality, and shorter waits for bags”.
“The capacity limits will be kept under regular review and could be lifted earlier should there be a sustained picture of better resilience and a material increase in resourcing levels, notably at some airline ground handlers, which remains a core constraint on capacity at the airport,” Heathrow said.
“The airport is a complex ecosystem with many organisations needing to work closely together.
“We encourage our partners to be transparent in sharing data, particularly on recruitment of additional colleagues, so that we can build confidence in the removal of the capacity limits as quickly as possible.”
Heathrow chief commercial officer Ross Baker declared the airport’s primary concern was to ensure passengers enjoyed a reliable service.
“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve,” he said.
Last month the dramatic decision pushed one-way Qantas flights from Sydney to London up to $2,800 — travelling in economy class.
Australian Aviation saw flights between Sydney and London on Qantas regularly selling for more than $2,500, with prices hitting nearly $2,800 on 26 August via Singapore. Prices from Sydney travelling via Melbourne were selling for up to $3,000.
During Sydney and Melbourne’s long winter lockdown last year, one-way flights between London and Sydney were selling for more than $43,000 after arrival caps were reduced.
The caps meant customers could only travel via business.