Heathrow Airport Expects More Traffic in 2022

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C (satellite 2) viewed from airfield, May 2011. David Dyson
Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C (satellite 2) viewed from airfield, May 2011. David Dyson

LONDON – The United Kingdom’s capital’s main airport, London Heathrow (LHR) had released a statement commenting on its expectations for the year ahead in 2022.

However, they are very skeptical of demand dipping for the winter season.

Their outlook…

Following a press release, London Heathrow has increased its expected forecast in passenger traffic for 2022. They were originally forecasting 45.5 million passengers in 2022.

However, this has been increased to an expectation of now 52.8 million passengers, with the revised figure making up for 65% of their pre-pandemic annual passenger traffic.

Between January and March 2022, Heathrow saw 9.7 million passengers utilize the airport, which is a huge increase compared to just 1.7 million that they saw during the same time period last year. Although the increase is still in line with their forecasts.

Despite the increased passenger forecast count of 7.3 million passengers as well as the increase in passenger numbers during the first three months of the year, the airport is still expecting that they will make a loss in 2022 with their COVID-19 losses now topping at £4 billion.

Not only this, but Heathrow is also expecting demand to drop significantly as the winter season begins to come into place. The reason for this is they are already seeing airlines canceling services into the autumn, some of which are services to and from China with their COVID-19 restrictions rising, as well as higher fuel costs that have been primarily driven by the sanctions on Russia because of its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Leader’s Comments

Heathrow Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye, has said on the back of this release:

“I want to thank colleagues who worked very hard to ensure the start of 2022 has gone to plan, and I want to reassure passengers that we’re redoubling our efforts to ensure this summer’s journeys go safely and smoothly.”

“These past few weeks have only reinforced our view that passengers want easy, quick, and reliable journeys every time they travel, and we can continue to deliver that for less than a 2% increase in ticket prices.”

Although some UK airports have suffered significantly with heavy delays for passengers with extremely large check-in and security queues, such as Manchester, Heathrow wants to ensure that there are plans in place to ensure that passengers don’t experience this at their airport which could heavily disrupt many journeys.

The “less than 2% increase” in ticket prices may come as welcome news to many people, however, in a world where the cost of living is increasing astronomically, as well as fuel, there will be many people that want to see businesses and regulators working on ways to make things cheaper.

Holland-Kaye begins to comment on CAA’s latest proposals for airport charges stating:

“The CAA should be aiming to secure this win for passengers instead of pushing plans which will cut investment in service, increased queues, and make delays a permanent feature post-COVID.”

“We have a lot of work to do to reclaim Heathrow’s crown as Europe’s largest airport which will deliver more competition and choice for passengers and more growth for Britain, and we need the regulator to help us do it.”

In relation to these comments, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has raised new proposals that will jeopardize Heathrow’s finances significantly, meaning that it may not have the ability to fund itself affordably, which is what will run the risk of investments in improving passenger experiences being heavily dented.

Heathrow has of course raised concerns with the CAA over these proposals along with many agencies in the light of trying to get them changed.

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