Heathrow airport warns travel won’t return to pre-pandemic level for years

London Heathrow, the biggest airport in Britain, has warned that travel demand won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for several years, as year-to-date losses mounted to £442 million ($510.4 million). 

The airport, which was the busiest aviation hub in Europe with 18 million passengers this summer, reported more than £1.2 billion in revenues for the nine months ended September 30, up by 203% from a year earlier. 

However, underlying losses have increased “as regulated income fails to cover costs”, adding to the £4 billion in the prior two years. It expects total passenger numbers for 2022 to reach between 60 million and 62 million, about 25% lower than 2019. 

“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,” Heathrow said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Heathrow intends to focus its efforts on building back the airport eco-system to meet demand at peak times. This will require hiring and training up to 25,000 workers. 


The recruitment and training of thousands of manpower will be a “huge logistical challenge”, the airport said. “We are supporting, including establishing a recruitment taskforce to help fill vacancies, working closely with the government on a review of airline ground handling and appointing a senior operational executive to invest in joint working,” the airport said. 

However, it maintained that its balance sheet “remains robust” despite the losses. “We have acted responsibly in the face of an uncertain market to protect liquidity and cashflow and reduced gearing.” 

The airport capped flight numbers during the travel chaos last summer, when staff struggled with winding passenger queues and mountains of lost bags. 

The cap will be lifted from October 30. 


Source: https://www.zawya.com/en/business/aviation/heathrow-airport-warns-travel-wont-return-to-pre-pandemic-level-for-years-yqbu853a


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