The boss of Advantage Travel Partnership has hailed the summer capacity cap announced by Gatwick as a ‘pragmatic’ approach to the problems of cancellations and delays.
The airport is limiting daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August, meaning as many as 10% or about 100 flights a day will be removed from schedules.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the consortium, said she hopes it will give certainty for customers due to fly from Gatwick during the peak holiday season.
“Gatwick’s decision to cap flights for July and August provides a proactive solution to addressing some of the challenging scenes we saw over the course of May half-term, ahead of a busy summer season in July and August,” she said.
“It’s important to note that in the vast number of cases travellers are travelling as planned with no disruption and most flights will not be cancelled due to this cap.
“By imposing this flight cap on departures from Gatwick in advance of the summer season it reduces the risk of any last-minute disruptions and remains the duty of airlines to communicate any changes in good time.
“I am confident that everyone across the travel ecosystem is working very hard to support their customers and provide the best possible service for anyone travelling this summer.”
She was featured on the BBC News channel and the Today programme on Radio Four on Friday morning (June 17) to talk about the announcement from Gatwick.
More: Government resilience group to ‘hold aviation sector to account’
Boss of BA owner blames ministers for airport disruption
Airport workers suffering abuse at work amid disruption
“Certainty is what we all need and what we are desperately trying to do now in rebuilding the industry is to make sure we can give certainty back to customers,” she told the BBC News channel.
She said the problems are not affecting every airline or every airport and said she will “wait and see” if other hubs follow suit.
Flights that are likely to be cancelled at Gatwick are those where there are several departures to the same destination in one day, she added.
“Hopefully this solution will give certainty. We welcome it; we think it is a really positive approach by Gatwick airport,” she said.
“It enables my members and also the entire industry and consumers to feel really confident about the summer.”
She urged viewers to book with a travel agent to get the best advice and support if there are cancellations.
“Think about booking in advance; it is going to be busy a lot of pent-up demand a lot of people have not travelled for three years and are desperate to get away,” she advised.
Lo Bue-Said told listeners to the Today programme that airlines which have already made pre-emptive cancellations in recent months have been informing customers between three and six weeks ahead of departure.
Meanwhile, the editor of Which? Travel, said it “wasn’t sensible” for Gatwick to make this announcement without first agreeing with airlines which flights would be cancelled.
“Passengers with trips booked are now in a panic about whether their flight will be one of those disrupted. The airport should have worked with airlines to confirm and communicate all changes to customers first, as this drip feeding of information is hugely unhelpful,” said Rory Boland.
“Gatwick must provide clarity on which flights are being cut, and in turn airlines need to be upfront with those passengers affected about their right to be rebooked at the earliest opportunity, including on services from other airlines.”