Travel News

‘Poor visibility’ causes more than 20 flight cancellations at Heathrow

Simon Calder’s Travel

More than 20 flights to and from London Heathrow were cancelled on Friday morning due to air-traffic control “flow restrictions” – reducing the rate at which aircraft can land.

They were imposed because of early morning fog at the UK’s busiest airport.

British Airways has grounded 18 flights: outbound domestic departures to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the inbound legs.

Seven European round-trips are also cancelled, to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Gothenburg, Faro and Dublin.

The Irish capital also loses a round-trip on Aer Lingus between Dublin and Heathrow.

Air France has cancelled its 9am flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle, while Lufthansa’s 9.30am departure to Frankfurt is grounded. Both would normally be carrying many connecting passengers for long-haul flights, some of whom will have been rebooked onto earlier departures.

British Airways is always hit hardest by airport-imposed requirements to cancel flights. BA has more than half the slots at Heathrow.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Like all airlines, due to restrictions imposed by air-traffic control at Heathrow airport as a result of poor visibility, we’ve made some adjustments to our schedule.

“We’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and our teams are working to get them to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

Passengers are entitled to be booked on any airline that will get them to their destination on the same day. Carriers that cancel flights must also provide meals and, if necessary, accommodation as appropriate.

Some inbound aircraft had to fly extended holding patterns while waiting for a slot to land. American Airlines flight 50 from Dallas-Fort Worth was 20 miles south of Heathrow at 6.54am, but could not land for over half-an-hour.

Earlier this week Heathrow airport’s bosses hit out at government plans to make all international transit passengers apply for an online permit and pay £10 for the right to change planes.

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