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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Heathrow sees slow recovery in passenger numbers

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According to new Heathrow data, overall passenger counts in February were roughly 50% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Last month, 2.8 million passengers passed through the hub airport, 15% less than initial projections.

Outbound leisure demand, on the other hand, is rebounding rapidly, according to the airport, as countries begin to relax travel restrictions.

Malaysia announced plans to relax travel restrictions earlier this week, following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, the Maldives, Ireland, Saint Lucia, Qatar, and others that have done so recently.

Inbound leisure and business travel demand is still being stifled by testing and quarantine regulations in roughly two-thirds of the markets served by the airport, according to 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.”

Other problems, according to Heathrow, are rising fuel prices, lengthier flight durations to destinations affected by airspace closures, fears from US travelers about conflict in Europe, and the possibility of new Covid-19 versions.

However, estimates from the airport show that demand might exceed 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels this summer.

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