London’s Heathrow airport has recorded essentially the most variety of passengers because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic, however UK Covid-19 an infection charges have saved enterprise and inbound travellers away.
Demand surged final month after the UK authorities abolished restrictions on travelling, marking a big enchancment from the “very weak” begin to the yr, Heathrow mentioned.
“Following a really weak January and February, passenger numbers in March have been the best because the begin of the pandemic,” Heathrow mentioned.
Demand was pushed by “leisure at weekends” and travelling through the faculty holidays, as Britons loved their regained freedom and lots of used vouchers from journeys cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Inbound leisure and enterprise journey stay weak as a consequence of excessive Covid-19 ranges within the UK and the requirement to check earlier than returning dwelling,” it mentioned.
Assets on the airport have been “stretched”, it added. Heathrow expects a busy summer time with passenger numbers near these in 2019, spurring the airport to extend its assets “as quick as attainable” with plans so as to add 12,000 new starters.
“It’s unbelievable to see the airport coming again to life after two years,” mentioned Heathrow chief government John Holland-Kaye.
However the airport cautioned that dangers remained excessive as a result of it was “unclear whether or not the surge in demand is sustainable”.
It mentioned excessive gas costs, potential new Covid-19 variants and the struggle in Ukraine posed potential threats within the medium time period.