Pandemic piles up Heathrow Airport losses

Photo: AP

With pandemic still dragging back the international transport links, UK biggest Heathrow Airport announced it was piling new losses, amounting at millions of pounds, BBC reported. Heathrow dipped a further £329m into the red in the first three months of the year, bringing total losses since the start of the pandemic to £2.4bn. Just over 1.7 million passengers travelled through the airport during the quarter, down 91% on the period in 2019.

Heathrow, which during the pandemic lost its crown as Europe's busiest hub to Paris, said continuing uncertainty over British government policy meant it had reduced its passenger forecast for the year to a range of between 13 million and 36 million, compared to 81 million in 2019.

Cargo volumes are also down 23% in 2019, underlining how a lack of flights affects UK trade with the rest of the world. British transport secretary Grant Shapps has said he will chair a meeting of G7 transport ministers next week to discuss vaccine passports before announcing which countries would be open to Britons for travel in early May. Heathrow reiterated that Britain's summer economic recovery depended on travel restarting from 17 May. It said it would be ready to scale-up operations as demand returned but repeated concerns about the UK Border Force's ability to prevent a long wait for arriving passengers at passport checks.

Despite saying there was strong underlying demand for travel, the airport said it had cut its passenger forecast for the year to between 13 and 36 million. In 2019, 81 million people passed through Heathrow.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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