Heathrow Airport has temporarily closed two of its terminals as passenger demand falls in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, passenger numbers shrunk by 52% compared to the same time last year, as the UK entered lockdown.
Many of the three million journeys that were made last month were repatriations, following travel restrictions across markets as well as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s advice against all but essential travel. The situation is expected to continue, with initial forecasts showing passenger demand in April is set to decrease by over 90%.
In response, Heathrow will consolidate operations terminals two and five over the coming weeks. Operations had already been cut to one runway this month as demand fell. Gatwick and Manchester airports have both cut operations to a single terminal, while London City Airport has closed completely for a month. Heathrow is now using its available capacity to prioritise cargo flights with medical supplies.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow said: “We continue to serve the nation by keeping vital supply lines open, and helping people get home. Now is the time to agree a common international standard for healthcare screening in airports so that when this crisis recedes, people can travel with confidence and we can get the British economy moving again.”