Heathrow insists check-ins ‘worked well’ amid jubilee chaos | Heathrow airport

Heathrow has insisted its check-in process “generally worked well” in May” chaos at UK airports during the half-term holidays, after recording its busiest month since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK’s biggest airport said on Monday that with more air travelers checking in online, 90% of passengers went through security in less than 10 minutes in May.

Heathrow said no more flights were canceled at short notice than on a typical day and Border Force “performed well” during the month.

Holidaymakers getting away during the jubilee half-term break faced long queues and canceled flights as the aviation industry quarreled to cope with staff shortages and passenger numbers climbing back towards pre-pandemic levels.

Other airports including Gatwick and Manchester appeared to experience the worst disruption. But Heathrow customers complained they had to queue for hours at passport control from the weekend before the half-term holiday

Heathrow said it had worked with Border Force to minimise queueing times after an influx of passengers into the Terminal 3 immigration hall.

Heathrow said resources remained “tight” but it was working to “match supply and demand” which had made the difference over Easter and the half-term holidays.

The Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “I’m immensely proud of the way my team has worked with airlines and other partners to ensure passengers got away during the jubilee half-term.

“We continue to make good progress with our plans to ramp up capacity and are working closely with airlines and government to keep supply and demand in balance as we grow, so that passengers can travel through Heathrow this summer with confidence.”

Airports and airlines faced anger from holidaymakers after suffering delays and canceled flights.

Heathrow said it had been vindicated in its plan to “maintain high levels of passenger service” by criticism of other airports.

The company said: “The last thing passengers want is a cut price plan that leads to the canceled holidays, stress and ‘hassle’ seen at other airports. We urge the Civil Aviation Authority to protect service and resilience levels, incentivise investment and maintain affordable private financing.”

It said the initiatives could be achieved by a 2% increase in ticket prices.

Some of the thousands of people whose flights were canceled or delayed during chaos over half-term have been told they will receive no compensation.

Heathrow said that passenger numbers were at 79% of pre-coronavirus levels in May as 5.3 million people traveled through the west London airport – its busiest month since March 2020.

Although that was about a fifth below the total for May 2019, it represents nearly an eight-fold increase on May last year when the UK’s Covid-19 travel restrictions were in place.

Terminal 4, which was closed due to the virus crisis, reopens on Tuesday before the summer peak. It will initially be used by 30 airlines.

Nearly 2 million passengers traveled to the EU from Heathrow in May, while 1.4 million headed to North America. Flights to the Middle East were also popular.

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