Heathrow continues to see ‘signs of improvement’ for business travel

London Heathrow is expecting business travel to account for a higher share of its traffic in 2023, as the corporate market is “showing signs of recovery” in recent months.

UK hub airports said business travelers made up 21.5 per cent of its total passenger traffic in the third quarter of 2022, compared with 28 per cent during the same period in 2019.

Heathrow said in a report to investors that it will cater to an estimated 61.4 million passengers this year, which is at the “upper end” of its previous forecast and represents about 75 per cent of 2019 traffic. Passenger numbers only reach 22.1 million passengers in 2020 and 19.4 million in 2021.

“While demand continues to be driven by outbound leisure; Inbound leisure and business travel is showing signs of recovery,” Heathrow said.

“The increase in passenger numbers this year is higher than any other airport in Europe. All regions saw passenger growth, with Latin America, North America and Europe, in particular, increasing passenger numbers compared to 2021 Hui.

The airport is now predicting that the overall rebound in traffic will be “significantly slower” in 2023 due to economic factors. Heathrow is forecasting a 9.5 per cent rise to 67.2 million passengers next year, which would still be 17 per cent below its pre-Covid figure.

“While most Covid restrictions have been lifted, we now face further uncertainty from an economic perspective as major markets are already in recession or predicted to be in 2023; In its report, Heathrow said the increase in speed levels seen in 2022 is expected to reduce significantly.

“We expect further overloading of the business and leisure markets, which have had a slow rate of recovery so far. It is expected that East Asia will gradually ease sanctions throughout 2023 but the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war continues.”

Heathrow expects adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of £1.7 billion in 2022, an increase of £308 million on its previous forecast in June. Ebitda is currently forecast to grow by 4 per cent to £1.75 billion in 2023.




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