British Airways has extended its suspension of ticket sales for short-haul flights from London’s Heathrow airport to the middle of August, deepening the disruption for travellers hoping for a last-minute getaway this summer.
The carrier, the largest operator at Heathrow, confirmed on Tuesday that it would suspend sales until August 15 — a week longer than first announced just 24 hours earlier. BA blamed the move on Heathrow’s decision last month to impose a cap that limits the number of passengers at the airport to 100,000 a day.
BA reiterated its previous statement that as a result of Heathrow’s “request to limit new bookings” it had decided to “take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry”.
The move will affect all of BA’s domestic and European routes from Heathrow.
Experts warned that the decision would limit capacity and lead to higher fares for travellers wanting to book at short notice.
“This will cause severe inconvenience for anyone planning to book a last-minute summer break or business trip,” said Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website Headforpoints.com.
“There are no alternative carriers from Heathrow for all of BA’s short-haul routes, and even where alternatives exist those carriers will also face Heathrow-imposed capacity constraints.”