80,000 passengers miss flights
August 14, 2006
Over 80,000 British Airways passengers have missed flights since last Thursday's terror alert, a spokeswoman for the airline said today.
The company said that from Heathrow and Gatwick, 900 flights had been cancelled and 80,000 people have either missed flights or chosen not to travel.
Although she said that the situation was returning to normal as security restrictions are lowered, 20 per cent of flights today had been subject to delays.
And insistence from America that passenger lists of trans-Atlantic flights must to forwarded to the States has led to further problems, with some planes forced to wait up to two hours on the tarmac before being cleared for take-off.
A BA spokeswoman said: "From last Thursday through to today we have cancelled 900 flights to and from Gatwick and Heathrow out of 2900.
"This equates to about a third of our main flights. Of those 750 were to and from Heathrow and 150 to and from Gatwick.
"Out of 400,000 passengers since Thursday, 320,000 have flown and 80,000 have not, either because their flights have been cancelled or they have chosen not to.
"We are offering refunds to anyone whose flight has been cancelled or we will reschedule their flights up until December.
"We simply could not fill the flights because of delays getting through security. We are starting to get back to normal today. We have had 20 per cent of flights delayed today.
"We have hand to send data to the US authorities once airplane doors have been shut of lists of people travelling on the planes.
"This has led to delays of up to two hours while we wait for the passenger list to be cleared. This has contributed to the delays. We have put a lot of pressure on the US authorities to try and reduce these waiting times.
"While there is no average waiting time on the runway now we are down to about 30 minutes.
"We are trying to be as good as possible to our passengers but we are obviously working under very trying circumstances."
She criticised BAA, who run the country's airports, saying they didn't have the manpower to deal with the heightened security requirements.
She said: "They were not equipped to get the passengers through the gates on time and we have been applying pressure to make sure they have enough people.
"It has shown that they do probably need to address their contingency plans. Our chief executive has been very critical of BAA and the constraints that they have placed us under."
Copyright © 2006 National News +44(0)207 684 3000