Heathrow’s chief executive says the airport is “on the cusp of a recovery” as it posts its first full quarter of passenger growth since 2019.

Britain’s busiest airport benefitted from strong pent-up demand for travel as pandemic-related restrictions continue to ease around the world.

Passenger numbers in the third financial quarter recovered to 28% and cargo to 90% of pre-pandemic levels but are not expected to fully recover until at least 2026, the airport’s bosses said.

The airport has suffered £3.4bn in total losses since the pandemic began in March last year, going on to shred the travel and tourism sectors.

But, with £4.1bn available in cash, Heathrow’s executives said they have the “financial strength…to be able to come through until the market recovers”.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We are on the cusp of a recovery which will unleash pent-up demand, create new quality jobs and see Britain’s trade roar back to life – but it risks a hard landing unless secured for the long-haul.

“To do that, we need continued focus on the global vaccination programme so that borders can reopen without testing; we need a fair financial settlement from the CAA to sustain service and resilience after 15 years of negative real returns for investors; and we need a progressively increasing global mandate for Sustainable Aviation Fuels so that we can protect the benefits of aviation in a world without carbon.”

Business

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