London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has seen a strong start to 2023, and has now published its first quarter performance results.
The airport processed 16.9 million passengers in Q1, and notes that it surpassed Paris, Frankfurt and Schiphol figures to retain its position as Europe’s busiest airport. The major London airport also places second in the world for international travel.
Passengers also rated Heathrow’s service ahead of the listed main EU hub rivals, with a strong performance during the half term and Easter holidays.
He through management stated that it was there robust contingency plans that kept the airport running smoothly throughout a period of industrial action over the Easter peak.
Amidst industrial unrest, the upcoming Coronation bank holiday period was addressed by the airport which stated that: “passengers can expect to travel as normal during the Coronation and half term peaks, regardless of further unnecessary strike action by Unite.”
“We are working with partners on further improvements to service, such as Border Force’s successful trial of extending eGates to 10+ year-olds over Easter,” advised Heathrow management in their statement.
Heathrow remains in loss
Heathrow has not yet returned to profit with Adjusted losses of £139 million in Q1. The Airport has not forecasted any dividends for 2023.
It notes that the quarter one losses are due to the revenue allowance in the CAA’s H7 settlement being set too low. The airport has subsequently appealed the H7 settlement to the CMA.
Supporting the UK’s competitiveness
Heathrow continued with its aim to further open the UK to global markets, with Loganair taking advantage of a domestic charges discount to open up new routes to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The re-establishment of connections to 10 Chinese cities is set to take place as borders reopen.
Frequencies to Beijing and Shanghai will increase to twice daily before the summer.
In a further move, the airport has urged Ministers to make the UK more competitive for overseas visitors versus the EU by removing the ‘tourist tax’ of VAT on shopping which will drive more spend in shops, restaurants and attractions across Britain.
Progress towards sustainability goals
In a notable sustainability achievement, London Heathrow has become the first airport to achieve science-based validation from the SBTi for its 2030 carbon reduction goals.
As the global aviation sector starts to decarbonise, the airport is urging the UK government to move faster to bring production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel onshore, increasing energy security and creating skilled green jobs in levelling up areas.
Heathrow CEO comments
Commenting on the first quarter performance for the airport, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“2023 has got off to a strong start, and I’m proud of the way colleagues are working together to deliver great passenger service every day.”
“We are building our route network to connect all of Britain to the growing markets of the world – now we need the government to lure international visitors back to the UK by scrapping the ‘tourist tax’.”