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London’s Heathrow passenger caps prolonged until late October as travel strains proceed

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Passengers wearing face masks as a safety measure against the spread of coronavirus arrive at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 in London, August 3,, 2021.

Tejas Sandhu | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

London Heathrow Airport has prolonged limits on departing passengers through late October to avoid travel chaos as Britain’s busiest hub grapples with staffing shortages and a surge in travelers.

Not more than 100,000 passengers a day can depart Heathrow through Oct. 29, the airport said Monday. The caps, first announced in July, were set to run out after Sept. 11.

“We would like to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we are able to only accomplish that after we are confident that everybody operating on the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve,” Ross Baker, Heathrow’s chief industrial officer, said in an announcement.

The airport said, because it first established the capability limits, punctuality and wait times for luggage have improved and there have been fewer last-minute cancellations.

Staffing shortages after greater than two years of the Covid pandemic have collided with an onslaught of passengers throughout Europe this summer, creating long lines and other headaches like lost luggage.

Other European airports have taken similar measures. Earlier this month, Amsterdam Schiphol said it could cap passenger departures into October.

Some airlines, including American, are barring using some worker flight perks out of London Heathrow and warning staff about difficulties finding seats using their travel advantages from some European airports, CNBC reported last week. On Monday, American said it could start phasing out a few of those restrictions on Aug. 22.

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