London, United Kingdom:
Emirates on Thursday rejected an order from London Heathrow for airlines to reduce passenger numbers to ease the summer chaos caused by staff shortages.
The airport had decided to limit the total number of departing passengers to 100,000 per day for two months until September 11, and asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets.
“This is completely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands,” Emirates said in a statement.
The limit is comparable to the planned daily average of 104,000 passengers in high season.
Heathrow’s move comes as it seeks to ease congestion with booming demand following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Emirates described it as “deeply regrettable” the airport’s order “to comply with capacity reductions, a figure that appears to have been picked out of thin air”.
“Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we had to discard paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance,” the airline added.
Emirates operates six daily round trips between Dubai and Heathrow, which on Thursday said it would be “disappointing if … an airline wanted to put profits above (from) a safe and reliable passenger journey”.
British airline Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, said it supports Heathrow’s policy “so long as the proposed measures do not disproportionately affect home carriers at the airport”.
British Airways, which has already canceled tens of thousands of summer flights due to staff shortages, is canceling a further six daily short-haul flights in response to the limit.
Airports and airlines are struggling to hire staff after cutting thousands of posts at the start of the pandemic.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)