London Heathrow expects April passenger traffic to plunge by 90%

Apr 14, 2020

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The U.K.’s largest airport expects passenger traffic to drop by 90% for the month of April. On Tuesday, London Heathrow Airport said in a statement that while passenger numbers already shrunk for the month of March, it expects the trend to accelerate for the month of April as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Initial forecasts show that the airport should see a 90% decrease in passenger demand for April, with “lasting and significant industry-wide effects predicted”.

In March, Heathrow said that compared to the same period in 2019, passenger numbers were down 52%. Of the three million journeys that were to, from or through Heathrow, many were repatriation efforts. According to an airport spokesperson, the remaining passenger flights for April will be part of repatriation efforts.

Several airlines are still operating to or from Heathrow, such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada, United Airlines, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and more.

While passenger operations have dramatically dropped and are expected to continue to plunge, as the FCO warns against all but essential travel, Heathrow’s cargo operations have accelerated. On 31 March, Heathrow saw its busiest day for cargo-only flights. Throughout the day, the airport saw 38 dedicated cargo movements. In normal operations, the airport handles an average of 47 cargo-only flights per week.

Related: The tiny UK airport responsible for transporting your essential goods

The airport said it is prioritising cargo flights carrying medical supplies.

Last week, Heathrow drastically reduced operations. As such, it saw its operations reduced to a single runway, as well as the closing of two passenger terminals. In the coming weeks, all passenger operations will be consolidated into Terminals 2 and 5 only.

Related: British Airways temporarily leaves Gatwick airport as North Terminal closes indefinitely

The lifting of restrictions on hard-to-come-by slots at Heathrow has meant firsts for some carriers, such as regional Scottish airline Loganair. For the first time, the airline has begun flying to London Heathrow. Its former route between London City and the Isle of Man has been rerouted to London Heathrow following London City’s closure.

With the Heathrow’s operations significantly reduced, airlines have taken to parking some of their aircraft around the airport. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are storing some of their aircraft around Heathrow.

Featured photo by Steve Parsons-PA Images/Getty Images.

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