Heathrow has raised its passenger number forecast for the year following an ongoing surge in travel demand.
The hub has increased predictions to 54.4 million travellers – 2.6 per cent up on the 53.3 million forecast last moth – but said it was continuing to work with airlines to match supply and demand levels.
“While we rebuild capacity from the pandemic, resources remain tight, in line with other airports in the UK and Europe,” the airport said in a statement.
Heathrow is one of many airports across both the UK and EU to have experienced disruption because of a combination of labour shortages and soaring levels of demand.
On Monday it was forced to ask airlines operating from terminal 2 and 3 to cut 10 per cent of flights after on Friday it reported significant luggage delays.
Even though the new passenger outlook will lead to an increase in revenue and adjusted core profit, Heathrow expects operating costs to rise by 47 per cent to £1.22bn due to the surge in energy prices.
The airport’s decision to raise forecasts could prove Heathrow’s detractors – including BA’s owner IAG and Virgin Atlantic – right.
Airlines have accused the hub of downplaying the strength of the sector’s recovery to push for a higher price cap, which is the maximum amount large airports can charge their airline customers for using the facilities.
Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Shai Weiss last month said Heathrow was “peddling flawed projections and downplaying the recovery of travel to justify a massive increase in charges.”
After its finances were hit by the pandemic, Heathrow lobbied the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – for fees to go up from £19 per passenger to as high as £43 per passenger.
To mediate between Heathrow and the airlines’ needs, the CAA set an interim cap at £30.19 while waiting until this summer to decide the price for the next five years, a move that left both sides unhappy.