Heathrow Airport warns it will be ‘a number of years’ before demand returns to pre-pandemic levels

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The biggest airport in Europe by passenger numbers, London’s Heathrow, is not expecting to come into profit this financial year.

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Heathrow Airport reported on Wednesday a nine-month loss of £442 million ($512 million) and warned that it will be “a number of years” before demand returns to pre-pandemic levels. 

Europe’s busiest airport forecasts between 60 million and 62 million passengers will pass through its doors in 2022, which is down around 25% compared to 2019.

“We can be proud that everyone at Heathrow pulled together to serve consumers this summer and are working with airlines and their ground handlers to get back to full capacity at peak times as soon as possible,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in the press release.

The airport puts lower demand down to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Covid-19 and “a global economic crisis,” but anticipates passenger numbers could hit 2019 levels during peak times such as the lead-up to Christmas.

Revenue increased threefold compared to 2021, up to £2.1 billion, but was hampered slightly by the airport’s self-imposed daily passenger cap of 100,000 departures.

The passenger cap will be lifted on Oct. 30 after being put in place to tackle travel chaos as staff shortages caused luggage delays and flight cancellations.

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