Passengers who regularly travel Dublin to Heathrow on flight EI174 now know what to expect.
EI174 departs daily at 3:55pm and is not considered a prime time flight.
Therein lies a problem for passengers.
Since the start of the busy travel season, Aer Lingus – the fourth largest operator at Heathrow after British Airways (BA), Virgin and American – has been repeatedly urged by London Airport to reduce the number of flights it operates. As the airline weighs its options, afternoon flights are the most likely.
This means that passengers booked on an afternoon flight such as EI174 may have to take a morning flight instead.
Aer Lingus is not alone; Even more valuable battles have been sacrificed in recent weeks at the great Heathrow Roulette game.
The passenger numbers affected by these blackouts the night before are not large, but they add up in the summer.
Heathrow has now asked airlines to cancel more flights. On Monday, the airport capped departing passengers at 100,000 per day.
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According to Heathrow, the airports already sold were only about 4,000 more than that number – meaning it would be easy to find 4,000 alternative routes for disgruntled passengers
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in a statement: “By making this intervention now, our aim is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers and instill confidence that everyone traveling through the airport , will have a safe and reliable journey. ”
Our goal is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers
Dublin Airport was also looking at the possibility of limiting departures to ease the pressure on security queues, but ruled it out in favor of other measures.
The capping option only makes sense if the total number of security and service staff is far below demand.
Because a passenger cap needs to be communicated in advance, it is not a solution to a short-term staffing shortage that was Dublin Airport’s problem over the weekends in March and last month, when queues were chaotic.
Dublin Airport has also calculated that adding 30 security guards a week would give the airport enough leeway to weather the crisis.
There are now more than 700 on the security team, up from 550 in March.
More are set to join the team, giving the airport more security staff than pre-Covid.
Heathrow’s decision to limit flights is just the latest game in a game of schedule cutting.
This week there are 16 daily rotations between Dublin and Heathrow – 12 by Aer Lingus and four by BA.
Before Covid there were 21 daily rotations, 14 from Aer Lingus and seven from BA.
Earlier last month, BA cut its schedule to anticipate its own Covid-induced difficulties in getting the roster off the ground. Aer Lingus also slashed its schedule ahead of its own Covid cancellations.
Now both airlines have been asked to further cut flights – not without complications when about 70 per cent of Heathrow passengers connect to other destinations.
Passengers affected by transatlantic cancellations in Dublin or other issues such as the current SAS pilots’ strike are currently being rerouted via Heathrow.
Six months ago Heathrow forecast passenger numbers of 45.5 million for the year. It revised that to 52.2 million in April. The airport’s latest forecast is for 54.4 million passengers, or 67 percent of pre-pandemic levels. It decided not to reopen its T4.
BA’s Cork-born CEO Sean Doyle said last month: “Your numbers are already wrong by about 30 per cent.
“If you look at a planned forecast for Heathrow, you will see passenger numbers that will be north of 70m.”
Aer Lingus issued a statement saying it had taken note of Heathrow’s announcement and was currently awaiting further instructions.
“The affected customers will be notified directly by Aer Lingus in the coming days,” the airline said.
Passengers have alternatives. There are 11 daily rotations from Dublin to Gatwick, a mix of Aer Lingus and Ryanair (there were 18 before the pandemic). There are seven flights to Stansted, all Ryanair.
There are also alternative hubs: 12 rotations per day to Amsterdam, seven to Paris Charles De Gaulle, six to Frankfurt and five to Madrid.
Heathrow’s greatest asset is its convenience. If you miss a connection to Ireland, there is always another flight that departs about an hour later.
At least until Heathrow forgot to count.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/aer-lingus-afternoon-flights-from-dublin-airport-most-likely-to-be-cancelled-due-to-heathrow-caps-41838653.html Aer Lingus Flight Cancellations: Afternoon flights from Dublin Airport will most likely be cut due to Heathrow caps