Travel demand at London's Heathrow Airport, the biggest in the UK, will not return to pre-pandemic levels for several years, "except at peak times", due to the worsening global economic outlook, the Russia-Ukraine war and the impact of Covid-19.
The airport said in a statement on Wednesday that it expected total passenger numbers for 2022 to be between 60 million and 62 million, about 25 per cent fewer than in 2019, reports Xinhua news agency.
"While demand is stronger, it is not fully recovered," the statement said.
"We can be proud that everyone at Heathrow pulled together to serve consumers this summer - ensuring 18 million people got away on their journeys, more than any other airport in Europe, with the vast majority experiencing good service," Heathrow Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Holland-Kaye said.
On October 30, the airport will lift the self-imposed cap of 100,000 passenger departures per day, though it may be re-imposed "on a small number of peak days in the lead up to Christmas".
The airport acknowledged that it still needs to recruit and train up to 25,000 security-cleared staff - "a huge logistical challenge".
Thousands of passengers have faced delays and flight cancellations in recent months with airports and airlines struggling to recruit enough staff to cope with the surge in demand for international travel, following the removal of Covid restrictions.
Airports and airlines cut thousands of jobs at the height of the pandemic, and many workers haven't returned to the industry due to finding other jobs.
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First Published: Oct 27 2022 | 12:17 PM IST