Heathrow demand recovery will take ‘years’

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  • Heathrow said it could take years to fully restore passenger traffic
  • The firm also added that it needed to hire and train many more employees.

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Bosses at Heathrow have warned that it will take several years for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels.

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Heathrow, the UK’s largest airport, told investors on Wednesday that it expects to carry between 60 and 62 million passengers this year, a quarter less than in 2019.

Airlines and airports have faced major logistical challenges this summer as they reopened after two years of lockdown.

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Jobs available: Heathrow said it and the businesses operating there need to hire many more workers.

Heathrow said it and its businesses still need to fill a large number of vacancies related to all the people who left their jobs at the airport during the pandemic.

To return to the full power he had before the pandemic, Heathrow said he needed to fill all those roles again.

The firm said businesses at the airport began their recruitment campaign last fall and have between 12,000 and 13,000 more positions to fill.

Heathrow employs about 10 percent of the people working at the airport, with the rest working for companies such as airlines and ground handlers.

Canceled flights and huge queues have forced airports to take unusual measures: Heathrow has limited the number of passengers to 100,000 per day.

Passenger traffic restrictions will end on October 31, but this will not be enough for the airport to return to the previous level of demand.

“The headwinds of the global economic crisis, the war in Ukraine and the impact of Covid-19 mean that we are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic demand for a number of years, except during peak periods,” the company said.

He added that on the busiest days around the Christmas period, there may be some form of passenger limit on the cards.

The airport operator said: “We are working with airlines to agree on a narrow mechanism that, if necessary, will balance supply and demand on a small number of peak days leading up to Christmas.”

“This would stimulate demand during less busy periods while protecting heavier peaks and avoiding flight cancellations due to lack of resources.”

But there was good news for business as well. It has managed to turn a heavy loss of £1.4bn in the first three quarters of last year into a profit of £643m this year.

Revenue rose 200 percent to £2.1 billion over the same period.

There are also signs that passenger numbers are improving. In September, 5.8 million passengers visited the airport, just 15% lower than in 2019 and the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Boss John Holland-Kaye said: “We can be proud that this summer, all Heathrow airport employees came together to serve customers, bringing 18 million people on the journey, more than at any other airport in Europe, and the vast majority of them received good service.

“We have lifted the summer restriction and are working with airlines and their ground handlers to return to full capacity during peak hours as soon as possible.”

Earlier this month, Heathrow warned of a possible slowdown in travel demand this winter due to a worsening economic outlook, the impact of a new wave of Covid-19 and a worsening situation in Ukraine.

Credit: www.thisismoney.co.uk /

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