Matthew Neville

Heathrow Airport forecasts 45 million passengers to be travelling in 2022

Heathrow Airport, London, has published its latest investor report, exploring the effects of the pandemic on both revenue and number of travellers, which it expects to balloon to 45 million next year.

Given the resumption of international travel and the gradual reopening of borders, Heathrow has seen a steady build in traffic from May to November. However, the emergence of the Omicron variant has caused concern as restrictions, once again, are being tightened.

The reintroduction of the red list arrivals facility, pre departure testing before arrival into the UK and a PCR test by Day 2 are expected to have an impact on demand.

For 2021, the report anticipates traffic to be 20 million, down 1.5 million on the company’s June forecast and reflects the slower reopening of borders over the Summer. This remains 75 per cent down compared to 2019.

The 20 million forecast remains “uncertain” in the eyes of the company, as the reintroduction of border restrictions is leading to cancellations and a reduction in flight schedules.

Despite a lower traffic outturn, adjusted EBITDA is forecast to be £412m, an increase of £80m versus the June forecast. This is said to reflect “lower operating costs versus forecast as recruitment has been slower than planned”.

The company also set out its financial forecast for 2022. This is underpinned by a traffic forecast of 45.5 million passengers which represents further recovery across 2022, but remains 44 per cent below 2019. Adjusted EBITDA is forecast to increase by 227 per cent to £1.347bn.

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