Heathrow Airport will not limit the number of passengers who can use it this festive season as it prepares for its “biggest Christmas in three years”, airport chiefs have said.
West London Airport handled 5.9m passengers in October, 84% of 2019 levels, and a total of 50m passengers so far this year, 74% of 2019 levels .
Heathrow has said it will not need to impose a capacity cap to limit passenger numbers as it worked with airlines and ground handlers before the Christmas peak and has a good plan in place.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We’ve come so far since Omicron founded the Christmas travel plans last year.
“Heathrow, our airline partners and their managers are all working together to ensure everyone can be reunited with their loved ones this Christmas.”
Passengers were also warned that there was a threat of strike action at a number of organisations, including the National Border Force, which could hamper travel plans.
Heathrow said it was working with organizations on contingency plans to minimize any impact and encouraged all parties to put the interests of passengers first.
This comes as the airport has been boosted by a buoyant leisure market thanks to half-term school breaks and the gradual return of business travellers.
He also expects a strong recovery in business with the Middle East and Central Asia, which was seen in October, to continue in November.
Heathrow says its increase in passenger numbers this year is higher than at any other airport in Europe.
A year ago, Heathrow blamed the UK’s relatively strict coronavirus travel rules for being only the 10th busiest airport in Europe, after being number one in the rankings in 2019.
He said Heathrow businesses have recruited and trained around 16,000 people in the past 12 months, keeping capacity and demand in balance.
Officials believe that at current hiring rates, the airport could be on track to return to pre-pandemic employment levels before the peak summer vacation period in 2023.