Heathrow’s chief executive says the airport is “on the cusp of a recovery” as it posts its first full quarter of passenger growth since 2019.
Britain’s busiest airport benefitted from strong pent-up demand for travel as pandemic-related restrictions continue to ease around the world.
Passenger numbers in the third financial quarter recovered to 28% and cargo to 90% of pre-pandemic levels but are not expected to fully recover until at least 2026, the airport’s bosses said.
The airport has suffered £3.4bn in total losses since the pandemic began in March last year, going on to shred the travel and tourism sectors.
But, with £4.1bn available in cash, Heathrow’s executives said they have the “financial strength…to be able to come through until the market recovers”.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We are on the cusp of a recovery which will unleash pent-up demand, create new quality jobs and see Britain’s trade roar back to life – but it risks a hard landing unless secured for the long-haul.
“To do that, we need continued focus on the global vaccination programme so that borders can reopen without testing; we need a fair financial settlement from the CAA to sustain service and resilience after 15 years of negative real returns for investors; and we need a progressively increasing global mandate for Sustainable Aviation Fuels so that we can protect the benefits of aviation in a world without carbon.”