26 October 2023

Heathrow increases passenger forecasts after busy summer

26 October 2023

Heathrow Airport has said it will handle more passengers this year than previously expected after another summer of recovery in the travel market.

The airport, based to the west of London, also saw its losses shrink for the first nine months of 2023 as a result.

It said on Thursday that it expects to see 79.3 million passengers use the site this year, ahead of previous predictions of between 70 million and 78 million.

Heathrow said it welcomed 29 million passengers this summer, taking the total for the first nine months of the year to 59 million.

It saw revenues increase by around 30% to £2.74 billion for the nine-month period as a result.

The airport business therefore saw its losses shrink considerably to £19 million for the period, from a £442 million loss over the same period last year.

It comes a week after the UK competition watchdog said it was broadly in favour of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulator’s plan to reduce how much Heathrow could charge airlines.

The CAA said the cap on Heathrow’s average charge per passenger must be reduced from £31.57 for 2023 and last year to £25.43 over the next three years.

However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) did say some aspects of the pricing decision should be reconsidered.

Heathrow chief executive Thomas Woldbye, who started in the role earlier this month, said: “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.”

Separately on Thursday, the CAA also said the amount that planes will have to pay to fund the UK’s air traffic control system will rise by £17 after widespread disruption this summer.

The charge will go from £47 to £64 per plane for the period between 2023 and 2027.

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