Virgin Atlantic’s chief warns Heathrow to prepare for winter after pandemic pandemonium
Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Shai Weiss said today Heathrow better be ready to welcome the hundreds of thousands of passengers expected during the peak winter period.
“There is enough time to get ready for the peak winter,” he told City A.M. “We intend to fly and to serve our passengers and we expect Heathrow to do exactly the same.”
Relations between Heathrow and its airline customers have been rocky for the last few months, especially after the airport introduced a passenger daily cap in mid-July.
Airline executives and the west London hub have blamed each other for this summer’s travel chaos, which saw thousands stranded due to flight cancellations and delays.
Each side argued the other didn’t hire enough staff to cater the post-pandemic boom of air travel.
The row regained momentum late last month as Heathrow said it was looking at options to ensure smoother operations during Christmas, including a potential cap on customer numbers, just a few weeks after the summer cap was finally ditched.
Weiss said it was time to stop “the blame game” and move forward to ensure a great service to passengers this winter.
A Heathrow spokesperson said that, even though the airport has been recruiting “at record pace” for the last year, the industry’s recovery remains “a collective challenge.”
“Every one of the 400 companies operating here has a role to play, and we will continue to bring everyone together to deliver for passengers this Christmas, and into next year,” they said.
Ilaria Grasso Macola reports on the ground in Florida