Despite indicators of massive pent-up demand for travel, Heathrow Airport’s head has cautioned that aviation traffic may not fully return until at least 2026.
Even though international travel laws were loosening, John Holland-Kaye told reporters that Britain’s busiest airport was still losing money.
He also chastised the aviation authority for restricting increases in the fees that airlines pay to use Heathrow.
According to him, airlines at Heathrow earn a solid profit, and investors want the same.
Mr Holland-Kaye stated that passenger volume was still still roughly 45 percent of what it was in 2019. He told the BBC’s Today show, “It’s been a challenging 18 months, but we’re starting to see the healing coming through.”
“Now all we need is some consistency in the travel regulations so that consumers know what they need to do and airlines can incorporate it into their systems.”
Long lines and the airport’s ability to cope with an increase in passengers have been criticized. “We are employing people right now to ensure that we can fulfill the demand that is starting to come through across the airport,” he added.
“Even on the busiest days of 2019, we’re still at approximately 40% to 45 percent of where we were back in 2019, so we’re all working together to make sure we can provide them a good experience at Heathrow.”
He stated that it was critical for the airport and its investors to be able to raise funds to assist finance the airport’s return to growth.
The airport can already charge up to £22 per passenger to cover the costs of running terminals, runways, baggage systems, and security.
It had hoped to raise it to £43 in January, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now announced that it will be capped at £24.50 to £34.40 for the next five years.
“The CAA’s first recommendations do not go far enough to guarantee that investors can get a fair return,” Mr Holland-Kaye said. “This is critical to secure future private investment in passenger service and resilience for Britain’s main airport.”
Although it has lost £3.4 billion since the start of the epidemic, the London airport reported passenger numbers returned to 28% and freight to 90% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter.
Heathrow, which lost its title as Europe’s busiest hub to Paris last year, has sustained significant losses as a result of the epidemic and had hoped to recoup some of its losses by hiking airline fees.