Heathrow’s air traffic may not recover until 2026, according to the airport’s boss

Image credit: BBC

Despite indicators of massive pent-up demand for travel, Heathrow Airport’s head has cautioned that air traffic may not fully return until at least 2026.

Even though international travel laws were loosening, John Holland-Kaye said that Britain’s busiest airport was still losing money. He also chastised the aviation authority for limiting increases in the fees that airlines pay to use Heathrow. According to him, airlines at Heathrow make a solid profit, and investors want the same.

Mr Holland-Kaye stated that passenger volume was still roughly 45 percent of what it was in 2019.

Long lines and the airport’s ability to cope with an increase in passengers have been criticised. “We are employing people right now to ensure that we can fulfil the demand that is starting to come through across the airport, Even on the busiest days of 2019, we’re still at roughly 40% to 45 percent of where we were back in 2019.” He said.

Security personnel and engineers to assist maintain the airport are among the positions Heathrow is looking to fill. Border Force, which is part of the Home Office, is responsible for any shortfall of passport control employees, which has resulted in headlines about long waits.

Mr. Holland-Kaye stated that it was critical for the airport and its investors to be able to raise funds to help fund the airport’s return to growth. To pay the costs of operating terminals, runways, baggage systems, and security, the airport can currently charge up to £22 per passenger.

It had hoped to raise it to £43 in January, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now announced that it will be capped at £24.50 to £34.40 for the next five years.

Although it has lost £3.4 billion since the start of the epidemic, the London airport reported passenger numbers returned to 28% and freight to 90% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter. Heathrow, which lost its title as Europe’s busiest hub to Paris last year, has sustained significant losses as a result of the pandemic and had hoped to recoup some of its losses by hiking airline fees.