Heathrow busiest European hub over summer

Posted on 21 October, 2022 by Advance 

Close to 5.8 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in September, 15% below 2019 levels, yet the airport recorded the busiest summer out of any European hub airport.

Image courtesy Heathrow

Passenger service levels, which had been higher than any European hub between January and June, dipped at the beginning of July as passenger demand started to exceed overall capacity of the aviation ecosystem but improved significantly after Heathrow introduced a departing passenger cap, which successfully kept supply and demand in balance.

Heathrow sees demand outlook remaining uncertain, with growing economic headwinds, a new wave of Covid and the escalating situation in Ukraine. However Heathrow expect peak days at Christmas to be very busy.

Resource levels across the airport, airlines and their ground handlers have been increasing and Heathrow can now remove the cap at the end of the month. The airport is working with its airline partners to develop a more targeted mechanism, which protects passenger service during peak periods.

Heathrow's focus over the next 12 months is to get capacity, service levels and resilience back to the high levels that they were before the pandemic. It says this relies on having a regulatory settlement that provides enough cash flow to invest in its operations and capital projects and to maintain an investment grade credit rating.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow, said: “Heathrow has grown more in the past 12 months than any airport in Europe and we’ve delivered a great passenger experience to the vast majority of travellers. I’m proud of the way our team has worked with airlines and their ground handlers to get 18 million passengers successfully away this summer.

"While we face many economic headwinds, as well as the legacy of Covid, our aim is to get back to full capacity and the world class service people should expect from the UK’s hub airport as soon as possible.”

Heathrow has also welcomed the ICAO Assembly’s landmark commitment to target net zero carbon emissions for international aviation by 2050. The airport has been working hard to build support for this and to ensure that the UK government policies are in place to support the rapid increase in production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).