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up in the air

Heathrow Airport imposes temporary passenger cap to curb travel chaos

London's Heathrow Airport is imposing a two-month daily departing passenger cap and has requested that airlines stop selling new tickets for the summer season, as the travel hub works through on-the-ground chaos spurred by an influx in travel demand.

The airport will limit the number of departing passengers to 100,000 a day until Sept. 11, The Wall Street Journal reports. The decision follows similar restrictions imposed at London Gatwick Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, both of which also serve as main hubs for tourists traveling to Europe.

This is the first time Heathrow has had to impose such a cap, the airport said, per the Journal. With staffing efforts running behind, certain "key" airport functions — like baggage handlers — "remain significantly under-resourced," Bloomberg writes.

"Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe that further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey," Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye wrote in an open letter on Tuesday, per CNBC. "We have therefore made the difficult decision to introduce a capacity cap with effect from 12 July to 11 September."

"We recognize that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be canceled and we apologize to those whose travel plans are affected," he continued.