Heathrow flight cancellations: 15,000 passengers left stranded

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Airport workers stand next to lines of passenger luggage arranged outside Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, June 19, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Heathrow's baggage system at Terminal 2 failed on Friday, leading to a 'baggage mountain'. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

When it rains, it pours for airports as Heathrow asked airlines flying from Terminals 2 and 3 to cut their schedules by 10% on Monday, leaving 15,000 passengers stranded.

Around 30 flights carrying up to 5,000 passengers have already been cancelled at Heathrow Airport due to technical issues affecting baggage systems but an estimated 15,000 passengers on 90 flights will be affected, according to travel journalist Simon Calder.

Airlines that have cancelled flights today include Virgin Atlantic, Flybe, Air France (AF.PA), Air Canada (AC.TO), TAP Portugal, Loganair, British Airways, Delta Air Lines (DAL), Brussels Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Aer Lingus, ITA Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa (LHA.DE), KLM and Bulgaria Air.

The move by Heathrow comes after images emerged on Friday of a huge pile-up of passengers’ luggage.

Hundreds of passengers have reportedly been waiting up to three hours to retrieve their baggage after flying into Heathrow on Monday.

The aviation industry has been thrown into chaos in recent months in the first test of its post-pandemic operations.

Read more: EasyJet to cut more flights amid travel chaos

Tens of thousands of passengers have been left with last-minute announcements of cancelled flights, lost luggage and achingly long queues.

A spokeswoman for the airport said: “We apologise unreservedly for the disruption passengers have faced over the course of this weekend.

“The technical issues affecting baggage systems have led to us making the decision to request airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their schedules on Monday 20 June.

“This will enable us to minimise ongoing impact and we ask that all passengers check with their airlines for the latest information.”

Read more: Flight delays: airline passengers waiting up to 5 years for compensation

The UK’s second busiest airport, London Gatwick, has announced it will be forced to cancel flights and limit its capacity due to the staff shortage issue in the industry.

Gatwick said on Friday that the flights would be reduced from 900 per day to 825 a day in July and 850 in August.

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