Heathrow passenger levels climb almost eightfold in May due to strong demand for flights to the EU and US
- Passenger numbers remained around a fifth lower than pre-pandemic levels
- Greater than 5.3m travellers got here through Britain’s largest airport last month
- The BA hub observed substantial traffic over the Platinum Jubilee weekend
Heathrow passenger numbers in May were nearly eight times higher than in the identical month last yr when restrictions on airline travel remained tight.
In its busiest month since March 2020, greater than 5.3 million people got here through Britain’s largest airport, in comparison with just 675,200 in May 2021, although traffic remained around a fifth lower than pre-pandemic volumes.
North America saw the most important rise in people flying from Heathrow, climbing by 1,500 per cent to 1.4 million, while there was a 1.7 million increase in passengers journeying to the European Union.
Huge numbers: In its busiest month since March 2020, greater than 5.3 million people got here through Britain’s largest airport, in comparison with just 675,200 in May 2021
The British Airways hub observed substantial traffic over the Platinum Jubilee weekend and summer half-term periods, despite many holidaymakers facing long queues and flight cancellations.
These problems were attributable to the considerable recovery in demand coinciding with widespread staff shortages across the aviation industry.
Heathrow claimed that ‘no more flights were cancelled at short notice than on any normal day,’ adding that 90 per cent of travellers were capable of get through security in under 10 minutes.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘I’m immensely happy with the best way my team has worked with airlines and other partners to make sure passengers got away throughout the Jubilee half-term.
‘We proceed to make good progress with our plans to ramp up capability and are working closely with airlines and Government to maintain supply and demand in balance as we grow, in order that passengers can travel through Heathrow this summer with confidence.’
Ahead of the summer peak season, Heathrow is ready to reopen Terminal 4 tomorrow, having kept it shut to passengers for the reason that early months of the Covid-19 pandemic greater than two years ago.
High demand: The British Airways hub observed high traffic over the Platinum Jubilee and summer half-term periods, despite many travellers facing long queues and flight cancellations
Formerly the important operating terminal for British Airways, the positioning has traditionally hosted Middle Eastern airlines, including Qatar Airways, which can resume services there on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia Airlines and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.
But there are fears that the worsening inflationary environment within the UK and around the globe will stymie demand for foreign holidays and business travel, slowing the aviation sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Britain’s inflation rate is currently at 10 per cent, its highest level in 4 many years, as oil and gas prices have soared following the loosening of travel and lockdown restrictions and Russia’s recent full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The well-publicised delays and flight cancellations at airports across the UK could further disincentivise some Britons from taking their summer break in a unique country and persuade them to decide on a staycation holiday as a substitute.
In a bleak evaluation of Heathrow’s performance, Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, commented: ‘It is evident that travel demand stays subdued with business travel particularly unlikely to ever get back as much as its pre-covid peak.
‘After an unprecedented period of difficulty for the entire sector, 2022 was meant to see a surge in pent-up demand and a pointy acceleration of international travel.
‘Nevertheless, with the cost-of-living crisis, the brand new era of online business meetings, the war in Ukraine, and value inflation, Heathrow is facing one more difficult yr that may delay its first post-pandemic period of profitability.’
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