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The 2022 Summer of Discontent


Genie
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To start things off, an incredible press release from Emirates in response to Heathrow telling them to cancel flights.

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14 July 2022 - Emirates values our partnerships with airport stakeholders across our network with whom we engage continuously, and collaboratively, to secure our flight operations and ensure minimal customer disruption, particularly over the peak travel months.

It is therefore highly regrettable that LHR last evening gave us 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts, of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air. Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.

This is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands.

At London Heathrow airport (LHR), our ground handling and catering – run by dnata, part of the Emirates Group - are fully ready and capable of handling our flights. So the crux of the issue lies with the central services and systems which are the responsibility of the airport operator.

Emirates is a key and steadfast operator at LHR, having reinstated 6 daily A380 flights since October 2021. From our past 10 months of regularly high seat loads, our operational requirements cannot be a surprise to the airport.

Now, with blatant disregard for consumers, they wish to force Emirates to deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers who have paid for, and booked months ahead, their long-awaited package holidays or trips to see their loved ones. And this, during the super peak period with the upcoming UK holidays, and at a time when many people are desperate to travel after 2 years of pandemic restrictions.

Emirates believes in doing the right thing by our customers. However, re-booking the sheer numbers of potentially impacted passengers is impossible with all flights running full for the next weeks, including at other London airports and on other airlines. Adding to the complexity, 70% of our customers from LHR are headed beyond Dubai to see loved ones in far flung destinations, and it will be impossible to find them new onward connections at short notice.

Moving some of our passenger operations to other UK airports at such short notice is also not realistic. Ensuring ground readiness to handle and turnaround a widebody long-haul aircraft with 500 passengers onboard is not as simple as finding a parking spot at a mall.

The bottomline is, the LHR management team are cavalier about travellers and their airline customers. All the signals of a strong travel rebound were there, and for months, Emirates has been publicly vocal about the matter.  We planned ahead to get to a state of readiness to serve customers and travel demand, including rehiring and training 1,000 A380 pilots in the past year.

LHR chose not to act, not to plan, not to invest. Now faced with an “airmageddon” situation due to their incompetence and non-action, they are pushing the entire burden – of costs and the scramble to sort the mess - to airlines and travellers.

The shareholders of London Heathrow should scrutinise the decisions of the LHR management team.

Given the tremendous value that the aviation community generates for the UK economy and communities, we welcome the action taken by the UK Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority to seek information from LHR on their response plans, systems resilience, and to explain the seemingly arbitrary cap of 100,000 daily passengers. Considering LHR handled 80.9 million passengers annually in 2019, or a daily average of 219,000, the cap represents greater than a 50% cut at a time when LHR claims to have 70% of ground handling resources in place. 

Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from LHR.  

Emirates

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Genie said:

"Ensuring ground readiness to handle and turnaround a widebody long-haul aircraft with 500 passengers onboard is not as simple as finding a parking spot at a mall."

Really? I hadn't imagined that. 🤨 Wow, yeah. That's a crazy release. Some of it offers a kind of better-left-unsaid thinking you honestly don't want to hear your airline articulating in black and white. 

Edited by Marka Ragnos
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2 minutes ago, Marka Ragnos said:

Really? I hadn't imagined that. 🤨 Wow, yeah. That's a crazy release. Some of it offers a kind of better-left-unsaid thinking you honestly don't want to hear your airline articulating in black and white. 

Incredibly unprofessional.

Ive drafted up emails like that before but decided to sleep on it before sending, then came to my senses.

Im surprised it hasn’t been taken down / edited.

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I can’t see the problem with that email. I’ve sent much worse. :D 
 

Im a big fan of tell it like it is in response to the utter bollocks I sometimes receive

In fact there’s one police officer who has been sent at least 4 this week.

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1 minute ago, bickster said:

I can’t see the problem with that email. I’ve sent much worse. :D 
 

Im a big fan of tell it like it is in response to the utter bollocks I sometimes receive

In fact there’s one police officer who has been sent at least 4 this week.

It’s not an email though.

I like it, I’m just surprised a company who are trying to create the illusion of being professional let that out and leave it out there.

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It’s a funny scenario isn’t it. 

Heathrow: We’ve **** up

Also Heathrow: You all need to cover the costs and inconvenience of our inability to run our own business properly.

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1 minute ago, fightoffyour said:

Where’s the threatening?

Willing to cripple an airport and put customers and staff at risk after that airport has clearly said it doesn’t have the capacity nor the staff to handle all the flights safely. 

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I would be interest to know what the contact between Emirates and Heathrow says about cancelled flights.  

The airport must have the ability to cancel flights for a variety of reasons.  In particular if they feel it jeopardises safety. 

I suspect the airport will be claiming this is a safety issue whilst Emirates will be claiming its a failure to provide a contracted service. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Mandy Lifeboats said:

I suspect the airport will be claiming this is a safety issue whilst Emirates will be claiming its a failure to provide a contracted service. 

Where is the safety issue? This is baggage handlers and the like not air traffic control issues

This is LHR not having enough staff. A problem an awful lot of airports in the UK seem to be suffering from because they lost them during the pandemic. Staff went off to work for Amazon etc and didn't return (its absolutely the same in the Taxi industry) but the airports budgets don't allow them the scope to increase the wages to the levels required to recruit more staff on minimum wage and the time to train them and then there's the DBS backlog because anyone airside needs an advanced DBS and serious references. LHR probably haven't even got the staff levels right to cope with the Admin required for the vetting process. Shit like this happens when there is virtually full employment and immigration policies such as we now have

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53 minutes ago, Ingram85 said:

Willing to cripple an airport and put customers and staff at risk after that airport has clearly said it doesn’t have the capacity nor the staff to handle all the flights safely. 

There is no safety issue. Heathrow have messed up. 

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I don't think they could afford new staff with the Heathrow Chief executive's 85% wage rise last year.

Imagine having your salary almost doubled then the following year not even bothering with doing your job.

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1 hour ago, Genie said:

Incredibly unprofessional.

Ive drafted up emails like that before but decided to sleep on it before sending, then came to my senses.

Im surprised it hasn’t been taken down / edited.

Why should they.  Emirates wanted to make it absolutely clear to their customers that they are in no way responsible for any flight cancellations and that customers should take out their anger against the airport that has caused the issue. 
 

I like it and think more companies should have spats in public 😬😂

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46 minutes ago, bickster said:

This is LHR not having enough staff. Staff went off to work for Amazon etc and didn't return (its absolutely the same in the Taxi industry) but the airports budgets don't allow them the scope to increase the wages to the levels required to recruit more staff on minimum wage and the time to train them and then there's the DBS backlog because anyone airside needs an advanced DBS and serious references. LHR probably haven't even got the staff levels right to cope with the Admin required for the vetting process. Shit like this happens when there is virtually full employment and immigration policies such as we now have

And it’s not just a full employment issue, but as you say a wages issue.  

Heathrow could easily fill all their vacancies if they wanted to… but they don’t want to pay the level required to fill those vacancies. 

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1 hour ago, bickster said:

Where is the safety issue? This is baggage handlers and the like not air traffic control issues

 I didn't say there was a safety issue. I said Heathrow would claim its a safety issue.  

But if planes are delayed from departing due to a lack of baggage handlers it could prevent incoming planes from reaching the terminal.  This could then cause queues along the taxiways.  At some stage the airport would be unable to maintain standard distance requirements.  

More planes landing than departing will eventually cause a safety issue. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ender4 said:

Why should they.  Emirates wanted to make it absolutely clear to their customers that they are in no way responsible for any flight cancellations and that customers should take out their anger against the airport that has caused the issue. 
 

I like it and think more companies should have spats in public 😬😂

I like it too, but I think they could have gotten the same message across in a more professional way too.

Edited by Genie
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