Heathrow passenger levels hit by Omicron

In December, Heathrow had 600,000 people cancel travel plans over Omicron.

Through the whole year, Heathrow only saw 19.4 million passengers going though the airport – this is compared to the 80 million it had in 2019.

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CEO John Holland-Kaye commented: “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, incentivises growth and maintains affordable private financing.”

Also commented on the new data from Heathrow, Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Mass vaccination programmes failed to have the desired effect in 2021, in bringing the rebound in travel there had been such high hopes for this time last year.

“The web of rules and regulations which was spun across different countries and regions and swept away, and then spun again as new variants emerged, clearly led to a drop in confidence in the travelling public. The threat of expensive hotel quarantines following a rapid rule change and the risk of being left stranded overseas if testing positive were hardly a relaxing prospect for holidaymakers wanting to get away from it all.”

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