London’s Heathrow Airport drops passenger capacity curbs, says 25,000 staff needed

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London’s Heathrow Airport confirmed plans to end blanket capacity restrictions on passenger numbers this month, opting instead for brief curbs where needed on peak days during the Christmas holidays.

Europe’s biggest hub said its “highly targeted mechanism would allow airlines to encourage demand into less busy periods and avoid flight cancellations." The hub made the announcement as it reported a £442 million ($507 million) loss in the quarter ended September 30, despite catering to 18 million passengers this summer, more than any other European hub, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

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As pent-up demand that drove a surge in summer travel fades, there’s growing concern that rising living costs and surging inflation could put consumers off flying during what’s usually a slow season for the European aviation industry. Heathrow said those headwinds mean demand was unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels for several years, except during peak times.

After facing a massive shortfall of staff over the summer, Heathrow estimates businesses at the airport need to recruit and train as many as 25,000 people with security clearances to meet peak demand. The airport operator said it has established a task force to help fill vacancies and is working closely with the government on a review of airline ground handling.

Read more: Britain’s Heathrow Airport warns that demand outlook for travel is uncertain

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