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Heathrow wary of 2022 traffic recovery

Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport, © Heathrow Airport

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LONDON - Heathrow welcomed 9.7 million passengers in Q1 2022. January and February were "much weaker than expected" due to Omicron-related travel restrictions, while March demand increased after the unexpectedly quick removal of all UK travel restrictions on 18th March. The future remains uncertain.

Heathrow will remain lossmaking in 2022 as Covid losses top £4 billion. "Despite increased outbound demand, Heathrow is not forecasting a return to profit and dividends in 2022," the airport said.

Still, Heathrow braces for a summer uptick, opening up Terminal 4 by July and recruiting over 1,000 new security officers. "We are also assisting airlines, ground handlers and retailers to fill over 12,000 vacancies across the airport," management said.

Winter freeze

As a result of a "summer travel bubble" Heathrow updated its 2022 passenger forecast from 45.5 million to 52.8 million, which represents a return to 65% of pre-pandemic traffic this year.

"However, demand remains very volatile and we expect these passenger numbers to drop off significantly after the summer", the airport said. "We are already seeing airlines cancelling services into the autumn and the realities of higher fuel costs, lower GDP growth, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic will drag on demand."
© | Image: Heathrow Airport | 03/05/2022 16:14

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