Aviation recovery remains overshadowed by war and Covid uncertainty, says Heathrow CEO Business News

Airports and airlines are battling “headwinds” caused by coronavirus and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the boss of Britain’s busiest airport has said.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, was speaking after revealing figures showing the continued decline in passenger numbers.

In February, only 2.8 million passengers passed through Heathrow, 15% less than the airport’s forecast.

The CEO said: “Aviation’s recovery remains overshadowed by war and Covid uncertainty.”

The airport reports that outbound leisure demand is recovering strongly, while inbound leisure and business travel demand remains “suppressed by testing and quarantine requirements that are still in place in nearly two-thirds of markets. that we serve”.

The statement read: “We are also facing headwinds from rising fuel prices, longer flight times to destinations affected by airspace closures, US traveler concerns over the war in Europe and the likelihood of new ‘worrying variants’.”

Japan Airlines flights from Heathrow to Tokyo are routed over Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska rather than Russia, increasing flight time by four hours.

In the year to the end of February, only 23.7 million passengers passed through Heathrow, less than 30% of 2019 traffic.

Heathrow is asking the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to increase the fees it can charge.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: “We need to ensure we are ready to meet potential peak demand this summer and look to the CAA to reach a fair financial settlement that incentivizes investment to maintain passenger service and encourages airlines and Heathrow to work together to increase passenger numbers.

The airport currently has the highest charges in Europe.

Meanwhile, Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (Iata) have called for all remaining Covid restrictions to be removed within the European Union.

Olivier Jankovec, Managing Director of ACI Europe, said: “Travel restrictions have proven to be a blunt instrument with little or no impact on the transmission of the virus.

“Removing all Covid-19 restrictions will finally fully restore the freedom to travel. It will be a much-needed boost to the entire travel and tourism sector which has been forced to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs during the pandemic.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-11 10:14:20

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