Heathrow reports that its passenger numbers were down 4.8 per cent last month due to the coronavirus crisis – as British Airways offers £1 fares from London to New York
- The UK’s busiest airport said passenger numbers fell to 5.4 million last month
- It also warned that demand has continued to weaken entering into March
- Heathrow says it has introduced regular deep cleaning and more hand sanitisers
Heathrow saw a 4.8 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger numbers in February due to coronavirus.
The UK’s busiest airport said the fall to 5.4 million passengers was driven by lower demand on Asian and European routes.
The announcement comes as BA launches £1 fares, plus charges, to New York from London.
Heathrow says it has seen a 4.8 per cent year-on-year decreased in passenger numbers in February due to the coronavirus crisis
BA is currently offering £1 fares – plus fees and taxes – to New York from London (pictured)
The Heathrow figure, meanwhile, takes into account the extra day last month as 2020 is a leap year. And the airport warned that demand has continued to weaken in March.
The airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: ‘The threat of coronavirus is an increasing challenge for the UK and we are working day and night to ensure Britain’s front door is open and safe for our people and passengers.
‘We will continue to work with the Government to limit the impacts this will have on UK plc.’
The impact of coronavirus on global trade is also highlighted by the amount of cargo passing through Heathrow last month falling by 9.5 per cent to 115,900 metric tonnes.
To stem the spread of the virus, Heathrow says that regular deep cleaning has been introduced across all terminals and that there is increased availability and provision of hand sanitisers.
A dedicated team from Public Health England (PHE) remains at the hub ‘implementing clinically-informed, evidence-driven processes to support passengers showing symptoms of the virus’.
Heathrow added: ‘Current processes include an early warning system allowing airline crew to report any illness on board flights ahead of landing.’
Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights due to the drop in demand for air travel.
The UK’s busiest airport said the fall to 5.4 million passengers was driven by lower demand on Asian and European routes
British Airways – the largest airline at Heathrow – has stopped flying to mainland China and Italy while frequencies have been slashed on other routes.
It is possible to book a return flight from Heathrow to New York – departing on March 16 and coming back a week later – for £269, which after taxes, airport fees and ‘carrier charges’ leaves a fare of just £1.
Low-cost carrier Norwegian announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled around 3,000 flights between mid-March and mid-June, which represents about 15 per cent of its total capacity.
EasyJet and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights while Virgin Atlantic has admitted some of its planes are ‘almost empty’.
The International Air Transport Association, which represents airlines around the world, has predicted that revenue losses for 2020 could reach $113billion (£88billion).
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