Saturday, July 16, 2022

Heathrow restrictions hit Virgin’s India-London flight, more could follow

Virgin Atlantic cancelled its Delhi-London flight on Thursday and other carriers could also pull out India-London flights from their summer schedule following Heathrow airport’s decision to limit the number of passengers to one lakh a day.

The limits on passenger numbers imposed by Heathrow airport to cope with a staff crunch has been in force from July 12 to September 11.

There are 102 direct flights a week between India and Heathrow airport — British Airways (41), Virgin Atlantic (21), Air India (33) and Vistara (seven). Heathrow airport in London is one of the busiest airports in the world.

“Due to mandatory flight capacity restrictions being implemented by Heathrow Airport on all airlines on Thursday 14 July, we’ve regrettably had to cancel one of our London Heathrow - New York (JFK) return services, operating as flight numbers VS45 and VS4 and our morning departure to Delhi, flight VS302,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.

It added that it is contacting affected customers and will rebook them on an alternative flight on the same day wherever possible with the option to rebook on a later date or request a refund.

British Airways said in a statement, “This is incredibly disappointing news for our customers, coming at a time when we’ve already taken responsible action to reduce our summer schedule to slim our programme further, utilising slot alleviation to minimise disruption, provide certainty for travellers and help airports manage their resource.” As a result of Heathrow’s request, the airline said it will now need to take a small number of additional flights out of its schedule and the carrier will be contacting customers to apologise, advise them of their customer rights and offer options including rebooking or refund.

“We also know that some customers may want to review their travel plans in light of the current travel challenges and have introduced a policy that will allow customers to easily change travel dates so that they have additional flexibility,” it said.

16/07/22 PTI/The Hindu

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