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Cancelled flights - live: Heathrow axes 30 flights as British Airways cuts more summer services

Today’s Heathrow cancellations set to affect around 4,500 passengers

Queues stretch outside of Birmingham airport

Heathrow Airport has axed 30 flights scheduled to leave Thursday morning, as it asked airlines to reduce their schedules to ease pressure on its terminals.

The cancellations, which could affect more than 4,500 passengers, predominantly affect British Airways services - though Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, KLM, Aer Lingus and Air France flights are also impacted.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, British Airways confirmed that it will make further cuts to its summer flights. The additional cuts mean the cancellations now represent around 11 per cent, rather than 10 per cent as previously announced, of its planned schedule between May and October.

A representative for the airline said: “As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions.

“We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”

Follow all the latest news and updates below.

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Queues outside Dublin airport ‘just to get in the building’, says reporter

A reporter for the Irish Independent has posted video to Twitter showing queues outside Dublin Airport’s terminals.

Shortly before 3pm, Ciara O’Loughlin wrote: “Queues currently outside terminal 1 in Dublin Airport just to get into the building.”

The video shows a covered queuing area which Dublin Airport has described as a “triage” zone in recent months, meaning some passengers are held back from entering the terminal if they arrive well before their flight.

Meanwhile, multiple Aer Lingus passengers took to social media to complain about being stuck on a stationary aircraft at Dublin, where they were waiting for a set of steps in order to disembark.

“Care to explain what you are doing at @DublinAirport ??? my mum is on flight EI343 and they are sitting at the gate with no one letting them out??? THE PILOT HIMSELF told all passengers to tweet about this so it gets resolved??? what the heck is this service???” wrote @LiliLouash.

“What’s going on with @AerLingus ? Flight delayed and when it landed there’s ’no stairs’ for us to disembark? People going mad in here, get us out! Flight E1343,” said @ichliebecomics.

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What has Heathrow said about today’s cancellations and disruption?

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said that airport management had asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak on Thursday, as it was expecting more passengers than it could realistically handle.

“We are expecting higher passenger numbers in today’s morning peak than the airport currently has capacity to serve, and so to keep everyone safe we have asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak for today only,” said the spokesperson.

“We apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.

“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”

Of customer reports of queues and disruption on Thursday, they confirmed that there had been some longer queues in terminal 2 check in, which is staffed by airlines, this morning - but said that “generally the operation has been moving”.

“Our operating plan is working and the vast majority of passengers have had good, predictable journeys. For the small number who experienced pinch points or disruption at Heathrow we apologise and reassure you we are doing everything we can to ensure summer goes as smoothly as possible,” said a representative for the airport.

‘Pretty dire’: Heathrow queues this afternoon

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Heathrow cancellations cause ‘chaos’

Passengers travelling from London Heathrow today are reporting travel “chaos” after the airport cancelled a series of flights this morning.

British Airways customer Andy Mossack accused the airline of having “zero customer service” on hand after the cancellations, writing on Twitter: “Total chaos at Heathrow this morning.”

“Heathrow terminal 3 is pretty dire right now, approaching hour 3 of queuing,” wrote Andrew Jones on Twitter. “One hour to check luggage, got randomly sent to G for security on the other side of the terminal, another hour and a half in line. Total BS.”

Rowan Shaw agreed, tweeting: “The queue for security at Heathrow is a nightmare.”

Meanwhile at Heathrow arrivals, customer Sarah wrote: “Genuinely cannot believe how bad Heathrow is today. absolutely dire.

“I’ve been flying through here semi regularly for seven or eight years and I’ve never seen it as bad as this: huge queues at the passport checks, no staff for basic operations, delays at almost every point of the journey - genuinely awful.”

Outside the terminal, passenger Mervyn Cunningham posted videos of long queues tailing outside of the building. “There are three of these lines one to get into the building, one to check in and one for security,” he said.

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Government warnings to aviation industry ‘not yet having the desired effect’ says consumer advocate

Rocio Concha, Which?’s director of policy and advocacy, has spoken out about today’s flight cancellations, once again calling for the Civil Aviation Authority to be given powers to fine airlines directly.

“Another day of chaos at the UK’s biggest airport suggests the government’s working groups and written warnings to airlines and airports are not yet having the desired effect - and many passengers will understandably be concerned that this plan may not be enough to prevent a summer of travel disruption,” said Ms Concha.

“Passengers have been treated appallingly during recent months. With the holiday plans of millions of people at stake, the government and aviation regulator must show they can get a grip on this situation and ensure airports and airlines meet their legal obligations to the travelling public in the busy weeks ahead.

“The shameful scenes at UK airports show why passengers need their rights to be strengthened and enforced by a strong regulator and compensation regime. The government should give the CAA powers to fine airlines directly when they flout the law, and drop plans to cut passenger compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights.”

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Mauritius to drop all remaining Covid travel rules

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius will end all its remaining Covid travel requirements from Friday, including testing on arrival for all visitors.

Previously, both vaccinated and unvaccinated holidaymakers had to undergo a Covid-19 test on arrival to the island, while unvaccinated visitors had to self-isolate for seven days in their hotel before taking a second test to be released.

The change to the country’s formerly strict entry requirements was announced on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Finland will drop all of its remaining Covid entry rules from today, 30 June.

Read the full story:

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Airport recruitment drives are ‘progressing well’, says association

The drive to recruit more staff across UK airports to alleviate the flight delays and cancellations seen over the last few months is “progressing well”, according to the Airport Operators Association (AOA).

Commenting on the publication of a Government 22-point plan on summer resilience within aviation, AOA CEO Karen Dee said: “While the vast majority of passengers across the UK are getting away on their travels with minimal disruption, airports recognise the impact any delay or disruption can have on passengers. That is why we share government’s ambitions to ensure passengers can enjoy smooth and safe journeys through the summer.

“Airports are working hard to prepare for this: recruitment campaigns for security staff are ongoing and progressing well, with more staff being deployed as they finish their training and security vetting. They are also working closely with airlines, the companies managing check-in and baggage on behalf of airlines as well as the government and Civil Aviation Authority to alleviate any delays where they do occur and to support others in the industry who are coping with staff shortages.

“By working closely together in this way, we aim to deliver the service that passengers have rightly come to expect of UK aviation.”

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Heathrow has ‘no excuse’ for on-the-day cancellations, says Which?

Heathrow airport has “no excuse” for ordering 30 on-the-day flight cancellations this morning, claims Which?

The consumer champion slammed the aviation hub, calling the move “hugely upsetting” for travellers.

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “Heathrow knew how many passengers were due to fly from the airport weeks ago, so there is absolutely no excuse for it to be ordering on-the-day flight cancellations. These last-minute cancellations are hugely upsetting for travellers.

“British Airways and any airline forced to cancel journeys must inform customers of their refund and rebooking rights, including alternative flights with rival carriers, if that is the best option.

“Airports and airlines need to be held to account for the unacceptable disruption travellers have faced in recent months. Reform of travel rules is desperately needed, and the government should give the CAA direct fining powers so it can properly hold operators to account and drop plans to slash passenger compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights.”

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Put off by the UK’s aviation chaos? Here’s how to ‘fly less and travel more'

A connection to place; a more authentic, adventurous experience; being treated like a human being; getting to sleep in a bed and eat in a restaurant; and “you can take your own champagne!”

These are just a few of the reasons slow travel beats flying when it comes to enjoying yourself, according to a panel of experts assembled for The Independent’s latest virtual event.

Our travel editor, Helen Coffey, was joined by a cracking pair of sustainability and travel aficionados -Mark Smith, better known as blogger The Man in Seat 61, and Anna Hughes of Flight Free UK - to discuss swapping plane for train, and why we need to start putting the brakes on aviation.

Watch a video of the event here:

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Dozens of cancellations at Amsterdam airport

KLM, the main airline at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, has made dozens of flight cancellations to and from its hub on Thursday.

Most of the grounded flights involve smaller regional aircraft, serving destinations including London City, Inverness and Newcastle.

Amsterdam is currently Europe’s busiest airport, and is warning passengers not to arrive more than four hours ahead of their scheduled departure.

Travellers are told: “You are only welcome at the departure hall four hours before your flight.

“This way you help us spread out the crowds better and stimulate a smooth flow around the check-in desks and the security control.”

In recent months the Dutch airport has seen extremely long queues due to a shortage of security officers and other ground staff.

Read the full story:

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Government sets out 22-point plan to get airlines, airports and passengers through the summer

Ministers have sets out a 22-point plan “to support the aviation industry” in a bid to avoid further disruption.

The “action plan” appears to comprise initiatives that have previously been announced, including adjusting security rules to reduce the time taken to get new staff on board.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “With 100 days having passed since we set out that restrictions would be eased, there’s simply no excuse for widespread disruption. Holidaymakers deserve certainty ahead of their first summer getaways free of travel restrictions.

“While it’s never going to be possible to avoid every single delay or cancellation, we’ve been working closely with airports and airlines to make sure they are running realistic schedules.

“The 22 measures we’ve published today set out what we’re doing to support the industry. It’s now on airports and airlines to commit to running the flights they’ve promised or cancel them with plenty of time to spare so we can avoid the kind of scenes we saw at Easter and half term.”

The government statement refutes assertions by the chief executives of easyJet and Ryanair that Brexit is partly responsible, saying: “Ministers have been clear that reaching for the lever marked ‘more immigration’ is not an obvious solution to the problem.

“Disruption is happening across the EU and in the USA due to staff shortages.” including changing the law to allow greater flexibility over background checks and allowing employers to use an HM Revenue and Customs letter to verify five years of employment checks.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“Aviation is a complex international eco-system with many moving parts but we are all working collectively to ensure the summer peak runs smoothly and passengers are able to get away.”

The news came after Heathrow airport ordered 30 morning flights to be cut, citing a 13 per cent leap in passenger numbers compared with last Thursday.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps

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