Heathrow reports significant reduction in losses as summer passenger numbers surge

Following what the London airport has called a 'super' summer, the new chief executive says 'best days still lie ahead'

Heathrow said it had had a "super" summer with 29 million passengers passing through the airport over the summer period. PA
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A rise in passenger numbers over the summer has enabled Heathrow airport to substantially reduce its losses in the first nine months of the year.

The London airport said 59.4 million passengers had passed through its terminals from January to the end of September, compared to 44.2 million in the same period in 2022.

Those numbers helped Heathrow reduce its adjusted loss before tax from £442 million in the first nine months of 2022 to £19 million in the same period this year.

'Challenging settlement'

In its latest results, Heathrow referenced the long-running battle over passenger charges, which was finally settled last week when the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled that the level set by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was balanced.

As such, Heathrow's charges for this year will be capped at a maximum of £31.57 ($37.4) per passenger, but will drop by 20 per cent from next year until the end of 2026.

Heathrow said that even though the CAA had "set a challenging settlement", it will still invest in upgrades of the security programme and the new Terminal 2 baggage system. Over the next three years, Heathrow also plans to invest over £200 million to reduce its carbon emissions.

“Heathrow is already a great national asset for Britain - and our best days still lie ahead," said Thomas Woldbye, Heathrow's chief executive.

"We've got a clear plan to connect all of Britain to global growth, a flight path to net zero by 2050, and while we have a tight settlement from the CAA, we will upgrade the airport for our customers.

"I'm excited to take on the challenge and looking forward to working with Team Heathrow to build an even stronger hub for Britain in the next decade.“

With connections to over 214 destinations, Heathrow is considered the most connected airport in the world, and will add flights to to Peru and Turkmenistan in the coming months.

Heathrow's results followed news from British Airways last week that it is to launch daily flights to Abu Dhabi from April next year, following a four-year hiatus.

The new flight from Heathrow, which will be operated using a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, will boost connectivity to the UAE as it joins BA flights to Dubai, which operate up to three-times daily.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 7:45 AM