Emirates said on Thursday it will ignore an order from Heathrow airport to cancel flights to meet a limit on the number of passengers.
West London airport told carriers earlier this week to stop selling summer tickets as it imposed a cap on passenger numbers until 9/11.
Passengers flying to and from the UK’s busiest airport have suffered severe disruption in recent months, with long security queues and baggage system glitches.
But the airline hit back on Thursday, accusing Heathrow of showing “blatant disregard for consumers” by trying to force it to “deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers”.
In a statement, Emirates said: “LHR (London Heathrow) gave us 36 hours last night to meet capacity cuts, a figure that appears to have been plucked out of thin air. Their communications not only dictated the specific flights we should kick paying passengers off of, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.
“This is completely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands.” He added: “Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from LHR.”
In response to Emirates’ refusal to cancel flights, a Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Aviation is a complex network and no one can operate in isolation. The network continues to suffer from Covid-related challenges.”
“While many factors have resulted in delayed flights, misconnected bags, long waits for arriving bags and last minute cancellations at Heathrow and airports across Europe in recent weeks, a key issue is the ground handling teams at airlines, which currently only have resources up to 70% capacity to meet passenger demand that has returned to 80-85% of pre-pandemic levels.
“For months we have asked airlines to help come up with a plan to solve their resource challenges, but there were no clear plans and with each passing day the problem was getting worse.
“We had no choice but to make the difficult decision to impose a capacity cap designed to give passengers a better, more reliable ride and to keep everyone who works at the airport safe.
“We have tried to be as supportive as possible to airlines and our limit of 100,000 departing passengers daily is significantly higher than the limit of 64,000 at Schiphol (in Amsterdam).
“It would be disappointing if, instead of working together, any airline wanted to put profits before safe and reliable passenger travel.”
The dispute came as it was claimed that travelers who pay extra money to expedite passport applications are being “plucked” as there are no guarantees they will arrive on time.
With demand for new passports surging as thousands look to book holidays after the end of Covid restrictions, applicants have been told by the Passport Office to wait up to 10 weeks.
Labor said Thursday that some people are being asked to pay £66 to speed up applications. Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the government “is stripping people of their hard-earned money just to get their passport fast-tracked, with no cast-iron guarantee that they’ll still get it back.” weather”.
A Home Office spokesman said “the vast majority of passport applications continue to be completed within the 10-week guideline.”
On the claims, some applicants were encouraged to pay more to speed up the process, the spokesman said: “Clients will only pay for an urgent service where they need a passport within 10 weeks.”