London’s Heathrow Airport has seen the busiest passengers since the coronavirus pandemic began, but UK Covid-19 infection rates have kept business and inbound travelers away.
Demand rose sharply last month after the UK government lifted travel restrictions, a marked improvement from a “very weak” start to the year, Heathrow said.
“Following a very weak January and February, passenger numbers in March were the highest since the pandemic began,” Heathrow said.
Demand was driven by ‘weekend leisure’ and travel during school holidays as Brits enjoyed their regained freedom, using many vouchers from trips canceled due to the pandemic.
“Inbound leisure and business travel remains weak due to high Covid-19 levels in the UK and the requirement to test before returning home,” it said.
Resources at the airport are “stretched,” he added. Heathrow expects a busy summer with passenger numbers close to 2019, spurring the airport to increase its resources “as soon as possible” and add 12,000 new starters.
“It’s fantastic to see the airport come back to life after two years,” said John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive.
However, the airport warned that risks remain high as “it is unclear whether the surge in demand is sustainable”.
High fuel prices, potential new Covid-19 variants and the war in Ukraine posed potential threats in the medium term.
https://www.ft.com/content/27f4010e-decf-48b3-bfa5-199ba8653b14 Holidaymakers are returning but business travel remains weak, Heathrow Airport says