Heathrow’s chief executive has lambasted Ryanair after the airline accused airports of not recruiting enough ground handling staff ahead of the peak season.
John Holland-Kaye deemed the comments made yesterday by the airline’s chief financial officer Neil Sorahan as “ridiculous.”
“Ground handling is the responsibility of the airline,” the airport’s boss told the PA news agency. “So that’s like them blaming us because they haven’t got enough pilots.
“They need to take responsibility for their ground handling.”
Holland-Kaye’s remarks have come after Sorahan told the BBC’s Today programme that airlines had “one job to do.”
Airport and airline bosses have clashed in recent weeks over lengthy queues and last-minute delays to Brits’ holidays abroad.
In a half-year report, Heathrow airport said it had been raising concerns over low handler numbers for nine months, after airlines slashed staff levels amid Covid lockdowns.
The airport estimated that airline ground handlers have no more than 70 per cent of pre-pandemic resources. There also had been “no increase” in numbers since January, it outlined on Tuesday morning.
Heathrow – who introduced a daily cap of 100,000 departing passengers on 11 July – justified its decision, saying it will remain in place until airlines increase their levels of ground handler staff.
“Airline ground handler performance has been much more stable since the cap came into effect, and we have seen a marked improvement in punctuality and baggage performance,” the airline said.
The airport continues to post heavy losses and said it did not expect there to be any dividends in 2022.
Its adjusted loss before tax was £321m, down from £787m last year, which it attributed to “higher passenger numbers, higher aeronautical charges offset by increased costs.”
Passengers soared from 3.9 million to 26.1 million.