Heathrow passenger numbers 90% below pre-pandemic levels

By Neil Lancefield,

Heathrow’s passenger numbers are languishing at 90% below pre-pandemic levels, the UK’s busiest airport said.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the west London airport last month, compared with 6,769,000 in May 2019.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “With the G7 starting today, ministers have a chance to kick-start the green global recovery by agreeing how to resume international travel safely and setting a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) that will decarbonise aviation.

“This is the time for them to show global leadership.”

Heathrow criticised “ministers’ refusal to provide transparency” on the data behind decision on the green travel list.

It urged the Government to “rely on the science and restart travel to low-risk countries like the US” at the next review later this month.

SAFs are produced using materials other than crude oil, and produces around 70% less carbon emissions.

They are more expensive than traditional fuel, but it is hoped technological advances will reduce costs.

Heathrow took its first delivery of SAF last week, but stated that “the right Government policies” are needed to build confidence in demand.

It wants world leaders at the G7 to commit to requiring 10% SAF use by 2030, growing to at least 50% by 2050, with incentives similar to those use to kick start other low-carbon projects.