London’s Heathrow Airport only served 19.4 million passengers in 2021

Heathrow Airport issued this statement on social media:

In December, at least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow Airport due to Omicron and travel restrictions. Heathrow Airport only welcomed 19.4 million passengers in 2021 – less than one quarter of 2019 and below even 2020 levels.

The full press release:

Aviation is in for long-haul recovery as Omicron causes at least 600,000 passengers to cancel travel plans in December from Heathrow

Heathrow Airport

 

  • COVID-19 continues to pose significant challenges for the travel industry, with Heathrow welcoming only 19.4 million passengers in 2021 – less than one quarter of 2019 and below even 2020 levels
  • At least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow in December due to Omicron and the uncertainty caused by swiftly imposed government travel restrictions
  • There is significant doubt over the speed at which demand will recover. IATA forecasts suggest passenger numbers will not reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025, provided travel restrictions are removed at both ends of a route and passengers have confidence they will not return rapidly
  • We are urging the UK government to remove all testing now for fully vaccinated passengers and to adopt a playbook for any future Variants of Concern that is more predictable, limits additional measures only to passengers from high-risk destinations and allows quarantine at home instead of in a hotel
  • This creates enormous uncertainty for the CAA in setting a new five-year regulatory settlement. We believe that the focus should be on improving passenger service, aligning incentives for airlines and airports to work together to rebuild passenger demand and maintaining affordable private financing in uncertain times. This is a chance to safeguard a world-leading hub airport for Britain and avoid a return to the “Heathrow hassle” days of the early 2000s, undermining the UK’s global trading ambitions

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“There are currently travel restrictions, such as testing, on all Heathrow routes – the aviation industry will only fully recover when these are all lifted and there is no risk that they will be reimposed at short notice, a situation which is likely to be years away. While this creates enormous uncertainty for the CAA in setting a new 5 year regulatory settlement, it means the regulator must focus on an outcome that improves service, incentivizes growth and maintains affordable private financing.”

 

Traffic Summary
December 2021
Terminal Passengers
(000s)
 Dec 2021 % Change Jan to
Dec 2021
% Change Jan 2021 to
Dec 2021
% Change
Market            
UK              226 173.6           1,768 21.1           1,768 21.1
EU              815 134.0           7,258 -9.9           7,258 -9.9
Non-EU Europe              212 161.9           1,537 -13.8           1,537 -13.8
Africa              167 55.2           1,040 -9.4           1,040 -9.4
North America              798 540.4           3,338 -13.6           3,338 -13.6
Latin America              116 172.1              413 -4.3              413 -4.3
Middle East              483 114.6           2,301 -6.6           2,301 -6.6
Asia / Pacific              304 131.3           1,739 -40.3           1,739 -40.3
Total           3,122 173.0          19,393 -12.3          19,393 -12.3
Air Transport Movements  Dec 2021 % Change Jan to
Dec 2021
% Change Jan 2021 to
Dec 2021
% Change
Market            
UK           2,118 113.3          17,214 13.5          17,214 13.5
EU           9,792 173.1          72,559 -11.9          72,559 -11.9
Non-EU Europe           2,102 165.7          14,433 -14.7          14,433 -14.7
Africa           1,006 32.7           7,886 5.7           7,886 5.7
North America           4,559 99.6          34,773 0.2          34,773 0.2
Latin America              609 90.3           3,157 6.6           3,157 6.6
Middle East           2,003 33.4          17,044 2.5          17,044 2.5
Asia / Pacific           2,443 14.2          22,966 -6.9          22,966 -6.9
Total          24,632 99.1        190,032 -5.4        190,032 -5.4
Cargo
(Metric Tonnes)
 Dec 2021 % Change Jan to
Dec 2021
% Change Jan 2021 to
Dec 2021
% Change
Market            
UK                10 109.5              220 -9.7              220 -9.7
EU           9,093 7.1        121,195 59.3        121,195 59.3
Non-EU Europe           5,151 -12.3          67,602 46.8          67,602 46.8
Africa           8,581 0.1          77,595 12.2          77,595 12.2
North America          45,616 44.3        481,733 24.6        481,733 24.6
Latin America           3,109 -5.9          23,490 -30.4          23,490 -30.4
Middle East          19,471 5.4        228,617 8.0        228,617 8.0
Asia / Pacific          36,157 11.1        402,461 25.7        402,461 25.7
Total        127,188 16.8     1,402,913 22.6     1,402,913 22.6