Ryanair said it will add more than 500 flights to London Stansted during the October school holidays after Heathrow raised its passenger cap.
The Dublin-based airline said the additional flights at Essex Airport will have a capacity of 100,000 passengers.
Heathrow announced on Monday that the limit of 100,000 daily departing passengers introduced in July due to staff shortages will apply until the end of October.
That will disrupt vacation plans for many families hoping to get away during half term.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “While hopeless Heathrow continues to cut flights and raise fares for families, Ryanair and London Stansted continue to add flights and offer thousands of low fare seats for the autumn break.
“With over 500 additional flights, more than 100,000 additional seats and fares from just €29.99 (£25.29), Ryanair looks forward to welcoming thousands of additional families on its low cost flights to/from London Stansted Airport during the autumn holiday season.
“While hopeless Heathrow continues to mismanage air travel, Ryanair and London Stansted will continue to grow and deliver to London families, as we have done throughout the summer of 2022.”
Ryanair insisted it and Stansted “have more than enough staff to handle these extra flights”.
Heathrow has repeatedly criticized airlines for a lack of ground handlers at the airport, which has resulted in thousands of bags not being placed on their owners’ flights this summer.
In response to the cap extension, a Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed that Heathrow Airport has already decided to extend the passenger capacity cap until the end of October, as additional resources are brought into operation each week and the Improved airport experience.
“Airline customers have a right to expect their bookings to be honored and we are doing everything in our power to minimize disruption and smoothly get our customers to where they are needed.
We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so if we are confident that everyone working at the airport has the resources to provide the service our passengers deserveRoss Baker, Heathrow Airport
“We urge Heathrow to come up with a comprehensive plan for returning to normal operations as soon as possible.”
Heathrow could not provide figures on the number of people who have already booked half-term flights to and from the airport.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are reviewing their flight schedules for this period, but no decisions have been made about further cancellations.
Ross Baker, Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our primary concern is to ensure that we offer our passengers a reliable service when they travel.
“That’s why we introduced temporary capacity restrictions in July, which have already improved travel during the summer holidays.
“We want to lift the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone working at the airport has the resources to provide the service our passengers deserve.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/ryanair-to-boost-stansted-flights-in-response-to-heathrow-passenger-cap-41914962.html Ryanair is stepping up Stansted flights in response to Heathrow’s passenger cap