BA cuts Heathrow flights after travel chaos

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The Independent Online

British Airways is to cut almost 1,000 flights from its schedule this winter to overcome staff shortages and congestion problems which forced it to cancel scores of services from Heathrow last month.

BA said the move would reduce its services by 2 per cent over a three-month period, and result in an average reduction of 12 flights a day out of a total of 540 operated by the airline.

A spokesman said the flight reductions would be concentrated on routes where it already operated a high number of daily services. The destinations affected include New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong and certain UK and European cities such as Edinburgh, Manchester, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam and Brussels.

The holiday plans of thousands of passengers were disrupted by last month's abrupt cancellation of services from Heathrow, which BA blamed on staff shortages and technical problems at what is the world's busiest and most overcrowded international airport.

Rod Eddington, BA's chief executive, said the cutbacks were designed to give the airline some "leeway". He said: "We made this decision earlier this month as a precautionary measure to help ensure the robustness of our operation. The reduced programme gives us more available stand-by aircraft and greater flexibility."

But Mr Eddington said he was sticking by the forecast that revenues would rise by 2-3 per cent over the 12 months.