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Heathrow Regains European Top Spot



The Heathrow Observer

October 13, 2022.


Heathrow has been the busiest European hub over summer, but outlook for demand remains uncertain.


Close to 5.8 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in September, although this was still 15% below 2019 levels. The airport recorded the busiest summer out of any European hub airport.


Passenger service levels, which had been higher than any European hub between January and June, dipped at the beginning of July as passenger demand started to exceed overall capacity of the aviation ecosystem, but improved significantly after the airport introduced a departing passenger cap, which successfully kept supply and demand in balance. As a result, the vast majority of passengers travelling through Heathrow this summer had a very good experience.


Demand outlook remains uncertain however, with growing economic headwinds, a new wave of COVID-19 excpected and the escalating situation in Ukraine. However. the airport expects peak days at Christmas to be very busy. Resource levels across the airport, airlines and their ground handlers have been increasing and the cap is to be removed at the end of the month.



Heathrow continues to work with it's airline partners to develop a more targeted mechanism, which protects passenger service during peak periods.


The focus over the next 12 months is to get capacity, service levels and resilience back to the high levels that they were before the pandemic. This relies on having a regulatory settlement that provides enough cash flow to invest in operations and capital projects, and to maintain an investment grade credit rating.


Heathrow welcomes the ICAO Assembly’s landmark commitment to target net zero carbon emissions for international aviation by 2050. The airport has been working hard to build support for this and to ensure that the government policies are in place to support the rapid increase in production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“Heathrow has grown more in the past 12 months than any airport in Europe and we’ve delivered a great passenger experience to the vast majority of travellers. I’m proud of the way our team has worked with airlines and their ground handlers to get 18 million passengers successfully away this summer. While we face many economic headwinds, as well as the legacy of COVID-19, our aim is to get back to full capacity and the world class service people should expect from the UK’s hub airport as soon as possible.”



Images courtesy of Heathrow Airport Ltd