LONDON – On June 13, the United Kingdom’s busiest airport, London Heathrow (LHR), released its May 2022 traffic figures, most of which were significantly bolstered due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee half term that took place at the end of the month.
The Figures & Outlook…
To begin with, in line with Heathrow’s yearly expected forecast, the month of May saw 5.3 million passengers travel through the airport. This figure represents 79% of what the airport saw during 2019.
Despite a very busy Jubilee half term, Heathrow airport operated rather well with check-in working well with most passengers using airline online check-in facilities as well as 90% of these passengers getting through security in less than 10 minutes.
Compared to other UK airports, Heathrow is faring well during these busy times, whereas some other airports are still struggling to cope with the heavily increased capacity due to short staffing and sickness leave.
However, Heathrow is still more short-staffed than it has expected, meaning resource is tight, but they have said that they are working very closely with airlines and handlers to match the supply and demand needed month-on-month ensuring passengers get away with as minimal delays as possible.
Not only this, but in line with the demand increase that is expected as we get ever-closer to the peak summer period, Heathrow will be re-opening its Terminal 4 from June 14, where it will see 30 airlines move their services across to Terminal 4 in readiness for the expected demand ramps up.
In terms of passenger count, Heathrow saw the following across its outreach –
- UK – 325,000
- EU – 1,996,000
- Non-EU Europe – 367,000
- Africa – 227,000
- North America – 1,403,000
- Latin America – 138,000
- Middle East – 528,000
- Asia / Pacific – 357,000
In terms of air transport movement, Heathrow saw the following across its outreach –
- UK – 2,766 flights
- EU – 16,297 flights
- Non-EU Europe – 2,979 flights
- Africa – 1,224 flights
- North America – 7,030 flights
- Latin America – 625 flights
- Middle East – 2,154 flights
- Asia / Pacific – 2,044 flights
In terms of cargo handling, Heathrow saw the following across its outreach –
- UK – 5 metric tonnes.
- EU – 8,788 metric tonnes.
- Non-EU Europe – 3,141 metric tonnes.
- Africa – 7,263 metric tonnes.
- North America – 45,163 metric tonnes.
- Latin America – 3,670 metric tonnes.
- Middle East – 19,833 metric tonnes.
- Asia / Pacific – 26,503 metric tonnes.
Commenting on Heathrow’s latest position, their Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye has said, “I’m immensely proud of the way my team has worked with airlines and other partners to ensure passengers got away during the Jubilee half term.”
“We continue to make good progress with our plans to ramp up capacity and we are working closely with airlines and government to keep supply and demand in balance as we grow so that passengers can travel through Heathrow this summer with confidence.”
Further commenting, Holland-Kaye mentioned his previously expressed concerns over the CAA’s (Civil Aviation Authority) proposed regulation changes, saying:
“We now need a regulatory settlement from the CAA that protects service and resilience levels, incentivizes investment, and maintains affordable private financing.”
“Failure to invest risks degrading passenger experience at a time when it has never been more important for operators to ramp up smoothly.”
All in all, Heathrow Airport is looking to be in a much better position than most expected, although it still has plenty of more work to do.
However, this ‘work to do’ may still very well be hampered by the CAA’s proposed regulatory changes that could significantly hamper investment and ultimately drive up fares.
It will be interesting to see in the months ahead how this will all pan out and if the CAA changes any of its expected plans to ensure that investment and financing are viable for all airports and operators.