Europe’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, says the demand for air travel remains uncertain

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The biggest airport in Europe by passenger numbers, London’s Heathrow, is not expecting to come into profit this financial year.
Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Getty Images

LONDON — Europe’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, gave a downbeat assessment of the industry on Tuesday, saying the “demand outlook remains uncertain” as economic turbulence, a new wave of Covid-19 and the escalating crisis in Ukraine could cause disruption to the barely-recovered aviation sector.

The sector experienced unprecedented chaos both during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and in its aftermath.

“While we face many economic headwinds, as well as the legacy of Covid, our aim is to get back to full capacity and the world class service people should expect from the U.K.’s hub airport as soon as possible,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kay said in a statement.

Europe’s biggest airport by passenger numbers announced on July 12 that it would impose a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers as the industry continued to face a host of challenges — the airport had sought to cut down queues, cancellations and baggage delays.

Heathrow said Tuesday that it would finally be lifting that daily passenger cap at the end of October. It also said it was not expecting to come into profit this financial year but a spokesperson described the balance sheet and liquidity to CNBC as “strong.”

Peak days in this year’s Christmas period are still expected to be busy, the statement Thursday said. Almost 5.8 million passengers traveled through the airport in September, which is 15% below 2019 levels.

Holland-Kaye said in a July press release that the aviation sector had been “deeply scarred” by Covid.

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