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Heathrow sees slow recovery in passenger numbers

Heathrow sees slow recovery in passenger numbers

New figures from Heathrow have revealed overall passenger numbers remained nearly 50 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels in February.

A total of 2.8 million passengers travelling through the hub airport last month, 15 per cent below initial forecasts.

However, outbound leisure demand is recovering strongly, the airport said, as countries start to remove travel restrictions. 

Malaysia unveiled plans to loosen travel restrictions earlier this week, following the lead of Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Maldives, Ireland, Saint Lucia, Qatar and others in recent days.

Demand from inbound leisure and business travel remains suppressed by the testing and quarantine requirements that are still in place in nearly two-thirds of the markets the airport serves, added a statement.


Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Aviation’s recovery remains overshadowed by war and Covid-19 uncertainty.

“But we need to ensure we are geared up to meet peak potential demand this summer and are relying on the CAA to make a fair financial settlement that incentivises investment to maintain passenger service and encourages airlines and Heathrow to work together to grow passenger numbers.”

Heathrow said a multitude of other challenges remained, including headwinds from higher fuel prices, longer flight times to destinations impacted by airspace closures, concerns from US travellers over war in Europe and the likelihood of new Covid-19 variants.

Estimated from the airport, however, suggest demand over the summer could reach 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.