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Heathrow ‘will not turn a profit’ in 2022 as Covid losses top £4bn

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Heathrow Airport has said it will continue to make losses in 2022 as “demand remains very volatile”.

West London Airport said it does not forecast a return to profit and dividends this year despite rising demand for outbound travel.

Losses during the coronavirus pandemic have now exceeded £4billion.

Heathrow has updated its passenger forecast for 2022 to 52.8 million from 45.5 million, which would represent a return to 65% of pre-pandemic levels.

Around 9.7 million passengers used the airport in the first three months of the year, in line with forecasts.

January and February were “much weaker than expected” due to restrictions to combat the Omicron strain of Covid-19, according to Heathrow.

But passenger numbers rose in March after the “unexpectedly quick lifting” of all UK travel restrictions on March 18.

Demand remains very volatileHeathrow Airport spokesman

A spokesman for the airport said: “Demand remains very volatile and we expect these passenger numbers to fall significantly after the summer.

“We are already seeing airlines cancel flights into the fall and the realities of higher fuel costs, lower GDP growth, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic will weigh on demand.

“We are still in a pandemic, many markets are still closed, almost 80% with testing and vaccination requirements and another worrying variant could mean the return of UK travel restrictions.”

Passengers traveling through several UK airports, including Heathrow, in recent weeks have had to wait in long queues, which has been blamed on staff shortages.

According to Heathrow, more than 95% of passengers got through security within five minutes during the Easter holidays.

It added that it “plans to continue providing good service during a busy summer” by reopening Terminal 4 by July and hiring more than 1,000 new security guards.

The airport also “helps” airlines, ground handlers and retailers fill more than 12,000 vacancies at the airport.

Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said: “I would like to thank colleagues who have worked very hard to ensure the start of 2022 went according to plan and I would like to reassure passengers that we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that travel this summer will be safe and smooth.”

Meanwhile, passengers continue to be impacted by flight cancellations due to staff shortages.

British Airways grounded at least 101 short-haul flights to or from Heathrow on Tuesday.

The airline said the cancellations were made in advance as part of efforts to improve reliability.

Passengers are offered alternative flights, often on the same day.

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/heathrow-will-not-make-a-profit-in-2022-as-covid-losses-exceed-4bn-41587735.html Heathrow ‘will not turn a profit’ in 2022 as Covid losses top £4bn

Fry Electronics Team

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