Lost quarter pushes Heathrow’s Covid-19 bill to £2.4bn

Another lost quarter for Heathrow has pushed the total amount the airport has lost from Covid to £2.4 billion.

The company behind the airport revealed another £329 million loss in the first three months of 2021, as only 1.7 million passengers travelled through Heathrow, down 91% compared to two years ago.

The company is now looking forward with hope to May 17, the date that international travel might restart in some form.

The Government is yet to make a decision on whether to allow Brits to travel abroad for holidays from that date.

But the UK's recovery over summer depends on it, Heathrow said on Thursday.

The continued uncertainty caused by the Government's policy on travel has forced the airport to reduce its forecasted passenger numbers to between 13 million and 36 million, down from 81 million in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit.

"These results show how Covid has devastated the aviation sector and British trade," said chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

"Restarting international travel from May 17 will help to kickstart the economic recovery, allowing exporters to get their goods to market, as well as reuniting families who have been separated for over a year."

Heathrow said that as the vaccine continues to roll out and Covid-19 levels fall, restarting travel to the US and other similar markets will be "critical" for the UK's economic recovery.

The company has slashed its cash burn in half compared to the same time last year, cutting spending on new projects by 77% over the period.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: "Heathrow is gearing up for the recovery.

"By acting early to cut costs and protect cash, we have put ourselves in a strong financial position to weather the storm and are ready to welcome back passengers, while keeping them safe.

"This would not be possible without the energy and commitment of my colleagues across Heathrow and I am very proud of what they have achieved."