Heathrow’s year-on-year passenger numbers treble to 62 million in 2022

By Faye Bartle |

Heathrow Airport

2023 is shaping up to be ‘a year of renewal for Heathrow’, says CEO John Holland-Kaye.

Passenger numbers at London’s Heathrow Airport trebled to 62 million in 2022 – a growth rate unmatched by any other airport in the world last year, according to the hub.

The increase, revealed in the results for the year ended 31 December 2022,  was ‘equivalent to fitting virtually all of Frankfurt’s 2022 passengers into Heathrow’, says the airport’s accompanying statement.

It’s a milestone achievement, considering UK borders reopened in March after two years of tough closures.

While the rapid growth presented challenges, Heathrow counts itself successful in ‘getting as many people on their way as possible by keeping supply and demand in balance’.

“2022 may have been a year of recovery, but 2023 is shaping up to be a year of renewal for Heathrow,” said the airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye.

“Our teams have already delivered a successful Christmas and half-term getaway, and with a great investment plan in place, we are determined to once again rank in the top 10 airports for service.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how far Team Heathrow has come in my nine years as CEO – from transforming customer service, to securing Parliamentary approval for expansion to surviving two years of border closures and rebuilding the business.

“My successor will take on a fantastic team who are making Heathrow a world leading hub that Britain can be proud of.”

READ MORE: John Holland-Kaye to stand down as CEO of Heathrow Airport

Over 25,000 people have started work at Heathrow in the last 18 months and resource levels are now close to pre-pandemic levels. The focus is now on ‘improving skills, experience and building resilience’.

Heathrow Airport results for the year ended 31 Dec 2022.

Heathrow Airport results for the year ended 31 December 2022.

While the airport continued to be loss making throughout 2022, annual losses reduced from £1,270 million (approximately US$1,522 bn) to £684 million (approx. US$819,667 m). ‘Inflation, lower passenger numbers and insufficient regulated charges impacted underlying profitability’, says the hub.

No dividends were paid in 2022 and none are planned for 2023.

The hub has reports that its financing ‘remains conservative’, with ‘strong liquidity and gearing falling below pre-pandemic levels’.

The final decision on the H7 settlement (Heathrow’s next regulatory period) from the CAA, which will determine the hub’s investment levels in passenger service over the coming years, is expected in March (it’s anticipated to be issued issue in the week commencing 6 March 2023).

Heathrow is also progressing on its goal of decarbonising global aviation, having ‘worked hard to secure the global agreement of net zero aviation by 2050 at ICAO’.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play a ‘critical role’ in decarbonising the sector, says the airport. As such, it has created a £38 million (approx. US$45,5 m) incentive scheme to encourage airlines to switch out kerosene for SAF, making it ‘one of world’s largest users of SAF’.

Later this year, Virgin Atlantic is set to operate the first 100% SAF-powered transatlantic flight from Heathrow to New York.

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