Heathrow predicts record passenger numbers amid spike in holiday demand

Heathrow predicts record passenger numbers amid spike in holiday demand

Heathrow has increased the number of passengers it expects to travel through the airport this year to 82.8 million, which is 1.4 million more than it predicted in December 2023.

This would be above the current record for annual passengers of 80.9 million set in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic. Some 79.2 million people travelled through Heathrow’s terminals last year.

“Over the first five months of the year, we have seen a strong demand in traffic at Heathrow, with 32.4 million passengers travelling through the airport,” it said in a market update.

Consumer appetite for foreign holidays has jumped since the start of the year, but prices have also remained high as operators seek to cash in on a post-pandemic spike in demand.

A 2023 survey by travel association Abta found that 64% of Brits are planning foreign holidays in 2024.

The British Airways hub said adjusted earnings are forecast to be £1.94 billion, about 12.8% less than last year, while revenue is expected to be 4.6% down on last year at £3.5 billion.

Heathrow said aeronautical revenue is set to fall 9.7% to £2.2 billion, mainly because of a one-fifth reduction in regulatory charges since January 1.

Operating costs are forecast to rise by about 8% to £1.5 billion to accommodate the increase in demand.

In April, the airport posted a £189 million pre-tax profit for the first three months of 2024, compared to a £60 million loss during the same period last year.

“Operationally, we have performed well, delivering great service and successfully getting passengers on their way, particularly over the busy half terms, Easter and May public holidays,” it said.

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