Heathrow Airport, usually the busiest in Europe, has just experienced its worst month since the 1980s.
West London Airport, which remains open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, decreased 52% in passengers to 3.1 million by March 2020.
The decline in traffic was worse than during the first Gulf War in 1990-1, the financial disaster in 2007-8 and the closure of volcanic ash airspace in 2010.
Heathrow’s relations with the European Union were the hardest hit. In March 2020, passengers were 60 percent less than the previous year.
The smallest decrease was seen to and from Latin America, although this number increased with a number of flights returning from Peru organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Heathrow brought more goods than usual. The average amount of movement of goods only at normal times is seven per day; However, 38 special cargo flights were carried out on one day, 31 March 2020.
However, the number of items handled by Heathrow is one third compared to 2019. During normal operation, 95 percent of the goods are usually carried in passenger aircraft hold.
Preliminary estimates for airports show that passenger demand is expected to decline by more than 90 percent in April, “which is likely to have a lasting and significant impact on the industry.”
Last week, Heathrow – which was previously the busiest airport with two runways in the world – switched to one-time operations. Terminals 3 and 4 will also be closed to consolidate operations in Terminals 2 and 5.
There is speculation that Terminal 4, which is clunky to the south of the runway and not between these runways, might not reopen in a few years, even if international air traffic continues.
But Heathrow might choose to close Terminal 3, making it a modern midfield.
Heathrow is better than other UK airports. The city of London was completely closed in May and Gatwick, the second largest airport in the UK, is only open eight hours a day. The only other connection between Northern Ireland and the whole of England is from Heathrow.
Airport managing director John Holland-Kai said: “Heathrow continues to serve the country by keeping the main pipeline open and helping people go home.
“Now is the time to agree to the same international airport control standards so that people can travel with confidence after the crisis is over and get the British economy back on track.”
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Heathrow has installed hundreds of hand sanitizers and has sign boards and floors to remind travelers of the need for social distance.
The announcement did not mention plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
Frankfurt Airport is currently the busiest in Europe, Heathrow second.