Heathrow Airport says Americans are concerned about war in Europe and new variants of COVID-19


Heathrow International Airport (LHR) says it faces ‘headwinds’ on the road to its recovery because Americans are concerned ‘about war in Europe and the likelihood of further ‘worrying variants” .

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unnerved countries in Europe and some travelers are reconsidering their travel plans. Persian Gulf airlines have already reported suppressed booking figures for European flights.

West London Airport saw 2.86 million passengers through its gates in February, but that was still half of pre-pandemic levels and 15% below Heathrow’s forecast for the month.

Over half a million passengers came from North America.

Airport general manager John Holland-Kaye blamed the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, as well as the new threat of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and escalating war in Europe.

Despite the “huge uncertainty”, Heathrow still plans to reopen Terminal 4 before July. The terminal was closed at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and only briefly reopened as a dedicated arrivals facility for passengers who were sent into the UK government’s hotel quarantine system.

The terminal is traditionally the headquarters of Skyteam alliance airlines, including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Saudia. The terminal also traditionally hosts Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

However, Heathrow expects demand to be further dampened by rising fuel prices which will inevitably be passed on to passengers.

Passengers also face the threat of a further fare increase if Heathrow wins its battle for a five-year funding settlement. Airlines have strongly opposed Heathrow’s request to increase the fees carriers pay at the airport, but Heathrow says the increase is essential to pay for investments like an improved baggage handling system and new security scanners which will mean that passengers will no longer have to remove liquids from their luggage.

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Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s most important airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always on the cutting edge, Matt’s knowledge, analysis and news coverage are often used by some of the biggest names in journalism.


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