London Heathrow said it is seeing the gradual return of business travellers, adding that the strong recovery in the Middle East and Central Asia seen in October is expected to continue into November.
The airport served 5.9 million passengers in October, 84% of 2019 levels. Year to date, it has recorded 50 million passengers, 74% of 2019 levels. The leisure market has been buoyant thanks to the half term getaway, with our busiest day since July, the airport said in a statement.
The increase in passenger numbers this year is higher than at any other airport in Europe. Companies across Heathrow have done an incredible job in recruiting and training around 16,000 colleagues over the last 12 months, which is keeping capacity and demand in balance. At current rates of recruitment, the airport is on track to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels before the peak summer holiday period in 2023, it said.
Heathrow is planning investments of over £4bn in the next few years which will make the journey through Heathrow even better, including new security lanes which will allow passengers to leave laptops and liquids in their bags, and a new baggage system for Terminal 2, subject to a regulatory settlement that supports investment.
“We have been working with airlines and their ground handlers to prepare for the Christmas peak, and have a good plan, which will not require any capacity cap. We are aware of potential strike action at a number of organisations, including a national Border Force strike. We are supporting organisations on contingency plans to minimise any impact, and encourage all parties to put the interests of passengers first,” the airport statement said.
“We are delighted to welcome new airlines such as Loganair and India’s Vistara, which strengthen Heathrow’s role in connecting all of Britain to the growing markets of the world. We are proposing changes to our landing charges for 2023 which will support more connections to the UK’s regions and nations.”
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We have come so far since Omicron grounded Christmas travel plans last year. Heathrow, our airline partners and their handlers are all working together to make sure everyone can be reunited with their loved ones this Christmas.”
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