British Airways has suspended ticket sales for all short haul flights departing from Heathrow Airport – including French routes – until August 15.
The airline initially announced that it would not be selling tickets in this category until August 8, but has now extended the suspension.
It made the decision because of a cap imposed by Heathrow on the number of passengers allowed to pass through the terminals each day, which is expected to continue until September 11.
The ticket sales suspension affects domestic, European and some North African routes. British Airways flies from Heathrow to French destinations including:
Paris-Charles de Gaulle
The closure of ticket sales does not mean that the flights have been cancelled, and people who had already booked tickets on flights to these cities should not experience any issues when the time comes for them to travel.
Heathrow Airport has struggled to cope with the surge in demand when Covid restrictions ended, especially as it and its associated airlines made redundancies during lockdown, and are now finding it difficult to hire new staff.
This has resulted in disruption for passengers, thousands of whom have experienced delays and cancellations since the spring.
Heathrow told airlines to stop selling summer tickets so that it could keep daily passenger numbers down to 100,000, 4,000 fewer than had been expected. This should prevent check-in and security procedures from being overwhelmed.
BA is the airport’s largest airline and so it feels the impact of this cap more than other carriers.
BA said that it was taking “pre-emptive action” to “give customers certainty about their travel plans.
“When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule and to continue to comply with the cap, we've been taking responsible action by limiting sales or all the available fares on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to rebook customers,” it added.
Flights are expected to be almost entirely full over the coming weeks, and the airline needs to retain some empty seats in case customers with bookings have their flight cancelled for external reasons such as bad weather.