Unlikely to return to pre-pandemic demand for a number of years: Heathrow Airport – ET TravelWorld

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Britain’s biggest airport Heathrow reported a nine-month loss of GBP 442 million (USD 507 million) and warned it was unlikely to return to pre-pandemic demand for several years.“Headwinds of a global economic crisis, war in Ukraine and the impact of Covid-19 mean we are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic demand for a number of years, except at peak times,” it said.

The loss for the nine months to September 30 added to losses of 4 billion pounds in the prior two years as regulated income failed to cover costs.

Revenue trebled to 2.1 billion pounds, with the rebound in travel from pandemic lows partly offset by the hub’s self-imposed daily cap of 100,000 passenger departures.

The cap, which limited flight cancellations as the airport struggled to cope with the bounce back in travel due to labour shortages, will be removed from October 30.

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The airport capped the number of passenger departures at 100,000 a day in July and in August extended the cap until October 29 in a move to limit queues, baggage delays and flight cancellations after struggling to cope with a rebound in travel. The airport has reportedly told airlines that it will lift the cap on passenger numbers at its terminals later this month.

Heathrow, situated west of London, said that it was working with airlines to agree a mechanism that, if needed, would align supply and demand on peak days in the lead up to Christmas.

The airport forecast that total passenger numbers for 2022 would reach between 60 to 62 million, about 25 per cent fewer than 2019.

Earlier this month, Heathrow warned of a possible slowdown in travel demand this winter due to the deteriorating economic outlook, the impact of a new wave of Covid-19 and the escalating situation in Ukraine.

Heathrow said that to be able to meet demand at peak times businesses across the airport needed to recruit and train up to 25,000 security cleared people.

“We…are working with airlines and their ground handlers to get back to full capacity at peak times as soon as possible,” said CEO John Holland-Kaye.

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