Ryanair has announced that it will add more than 500 flights to London Stansted during the October school half term after Heathrow extended its passenger cap.
The Dublin-based airline said additional flights at Essex Airport could accommodate 100,000 passengers.
Heathrow Airport announced on Monday that the limit of 100,000 departing passengers per day, introduced in July due to staff shortages, will continue until October 29.
Aviation data company Cirium said the expansion would reduce seat capacity by more than one million, from 5.9 million to 4.8 million.
For many families wanting to get away during the half term, plans will be disrupted.
The cap was originally scheduled to run until September 11th.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Desperate Heathrow continues to cut flights and raise fares for families, but Ryanair and London Stansted continue to operate flights. In addition, we are offering thousands of low-fare seats for the mid-autumn holidays.
“With over 500 additional flights, over 100,000 additional seats and prices starting at just €29.99 (£25.29), Ryanair is poised to welcome thousands of additional families over the mid-autumn holidays with low-fare flights to and from London. I’m looking forward to Stansted Airport.
“Desperate Heathrow continues to control air travel, while Ryanair and London Stansted continue to grow and serve families in London throughout the summer of 2022.”
Ryanair claimed that the company and Stansted “have sufficient staff to handle these additional flights.”
Heathrow Airport has repeatedly criticized the airline for its lack of ground handlers at the airport, with thousands of bags not on board their owners’ flights this summer.
In response to the cap extension, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: .
“Airline customers have a right to expect their reservations to be honored, and we do everything in our power to minimize disruption and get our customers where they need to go smoothly.
We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do this if we are confident that everyone working at the airport has the resources to give passengers the service they deserve. I can do it.Ross Baker, Heathrow Airport
“We urge Heathrow to provide a comprehensive plan to return to normal operations as soon as possible.”
Heathrow could not disclose how many people have already booked half-yearly flights to and from the airport.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are reviewing their schedules for that period, but no decisions have been made regarding further cancellations.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy PC Agency, said: and more than half a year.
“The continued uncertainty created by Heathrow Airlines about whether your flight will be canceled is prompting people to procrastinate, switch to other airports or avoid international travel at all.
“While our airport and ground handler staffing is improving, Heathrow appears poised to continue this approach for many months to provide a better experience for its passengers.”
Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker said:
“That is why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July, which are already improving our itineraries during the summer holidays.
“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so if we are confident that everyone working at the airport has the resources to give our passengers the service they deserve.”