Neil Lancefield, yahoo.com
Heathrow has regained its status as Europe’s busiest airport.
The west London airport said it was used by more passengers between July and September than rivals in cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid.
A year ago, Heathrow blamed the UK’s comparatively strict coronavirus travel rules for it being just the 10th busiest airport in Europe, after being number one in the ranking in 2019.
Heathrow has seen an increase in usage since the UK’s restrictions on travellers were lifted in March.
Some 5.8 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in September.
But demand last month was still 15% below pre-virus levels in September 2019.
The airport insisted the outlook for future demand “remains uncertain”.
This is due to “growing economic headwinds, a new wave of Covid and the escalating situation in Ukraine”.
It added: “However, we expect peak days at Christmas to be very busy.”
Heathrow said the “vast majority” of passengers travelling through the airport this summer “had a very good experience” as a cap on the number of departing travellers “successfully kept supply and demand in balance”.
This followed long queues and problems with baggage handling in early July, which was blamed on staff shortages.
The cap will be lifted on October 29.
Heathrow declared that its “focus” over the next 12 months is to get capacity, service levels and resilience back to pre-pandemic levels.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow has grown more in the past 12 months than any airport in Europe and we’ve delivered a great passenger experience to the vast majority of travellers.
“I’m proud of the way our team has worked with airlines and their ground handlers to get 18 million passengers successfully away over summer.
“While we face many economic headwinds, as well as the legacy of Covid, our aim is to get back to full capacity and the world-class service people should expect from the UK’s hub airport as soon as possible.”