Less than a decade ago, London’s Heathrow was the undisputed hub airport for Europe, with thousands of daily passengers and an ambitious expansion plan that included a brand new runway. Terminal 5 was still a novelty — the U.K.’s largest free-standing building hosted a string of glitzy shops and restaurants, including one founded by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. The airport was associated with aspiration, growth and an outward-looking Britain.

How things change.

Today, Heathrow is locked in yet another dispute with airlines after insisting they halt ticket sales during the lucrative school holiday season, a move that could cost as much as $500 million in lost revenue. The airport has been struggling to manage a post-pandemic rush in holidaymakers, with long queues of frustrated fliers becoming a common scene. One airline, Emirates, initially refused to comply with the cap on passengers, describing it as "airmageddon,” before backing down. The U.K. government has been forced to intervene, demanding a "credible and resilient” recovery plan from the airport.