LONDON: Emirates has slammed the “airmageddon” caused by London Heathrow’s “incompetence and inaction” after the airport threatened the Dubai carrier with legal action over its refusal to follow a passenger cap.
The cap, which will reduce passenger numbers by 4,000 a day until mid-September, was introduced by the airport to limit travel delays during the summer high season.
“London Heathrow … gave us 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts, of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air,” Emirates said in a statement.
“Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for noncompliance.
“This is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands. Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from London Heathrow.”
Heathrow has demanded that airlines avoid selling additional tickets in order to minimize strain on airport resources. But the demand has been met with fury by airlines.
One industry body chief accused Heathrow of trying to maximize profits at airlines’ expense.
Emirates said: “The bottom line is, the Heathrow management team are cavalier about travellers and their airline customers.
“All the signals of a strong travel rebound were there, and for months, Emirates has been publicly vocal about the matter.
“We planned ahead to get to a state of readiness to serve customers and travel demand, including rehiring and training 1,000 A380 pilots in the past year.
“Heathrow chose not to act, not to plan, not invest. Now faced with an ‘airmageddon’ situation due to their incompetence and inaction, they are pushing the entire burden — of costs and the scramble to sort the mess — to airlines and travellers.
“The shareholders of London Heathrow should scrutinize the decisions of the airport’s management team.”