Over 600,000 passengers cancelled plans in December, says Heathrow

By Charlotte Turner |

Heathrow registered a total of 19.4 million passengers in 2021, which represents one quarter of those recorded in 2019, and a decline from 2020 as uncertainty over Omicron and consequential travel restrictions resulted in mass cancellations.

 

According to the airport operator, at least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow in December due to Omicron and the uncertainty caused by swiftly imposed government travel restrictions.

 

“There is significant doubt over the speed at which demand will recover,” said the airport. “IATA forecasts suggest passenger numbers will not reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025, provided travel restrictions are removed at both ends of a route and passengers have confidence they will not return rapidly.

 

‘REMOVE ALL TESTING’ SAYS HEATHROW

“We are urging the UK government to remove all testing now for fully vaccinated passengers and to adopt a playbook for any future ‘Variants of Concern’ that is more predictable, limits additional measures only to passengers from high-risk destinations and allows quarantine at home instead of in a hotel.”

According to the airport operator, at least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow in December due to Omicron.

According to the airport operator, at least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow in December due to Omicron.

Heathrow believes that focus should be placed on improving passenger service and aligning incentives for airlines and airports to work together to rebuild passenger demand, whilst maintaining ‘affordable private financing in uncertain times’.

 

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “There are currently travel restrictions, such as testing, on all Heathrow routes – the aviation industry will only fully recover when these are all lifted and there is no risk that they will be reimposed at short notice, a situation which is likely to be years away.

 

“While this creates enormous uncertainty for the CAA in setting a new 5-year regulatory settlement, it means the regulator must focus on an outcome that improves service, incentivises growth and maintains affordable private financing.”

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