Surge in demand at Heathrow following government removal of travel restrictions

Plane landing at LHR | Hillingdon Today
An aeroplane landing at Heathrow Airport / HAL

Following a very weak January and February, passenger numbers in March were the highest since the start of the pandemic at Heathrow Airport, following the Government’s removal of all travel restrictions, making the UK the first country in the world to do so. 

This demand is being driven by outbound leisure at weekends and during the current school holidays, as Brits make the most of the freedom to travel and cash in vouchers from trips cancelled earlier in the pandemic.  Inbound leisure and business travel remains weak due to high covid levels in the UK and the requirement to test before returning home. 

The aviation sector has been rebuilding capacity ahead of the summer peak, so resources are currently stretched.  Heathrow is working closely with airlines and ground handlers to make sure this increase in demand can be met while keeping passengers safe. 

Many countries still require covid checks including testing, vaccination status and quarantine, which is causing particular congestion in check-in areas at peak times. Heathrow is advising all passengers to check with their airline to confirm when they should get to the airport.

As the summer peak is expected to be very busy, with peak days close to 2019 levels, Heathrow is increasing resources as fast as possible, with 12,000 new starters planned across the airport.  Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “It is fantastic to see the airport coming back to life after two years, and I want to thank all Team Heathrow colleagues for working together to serve our passengers.  Everyone at Heathrow is doing everything we can to make sure passengers get on their way as smoothly and safely as possible.”