COVID-19 Pandemic Cannot Stop Heathrow's Busiest January

Heathrow Records Busiest January Amid Pandemic

With 5.4 million passengers, January 2018 was Heathrow Airport’s busiest month since the epidemic began.

Heathrow head John Holland-Kaye said the numbers demonstrated the airport was “back to its best,” despite the fact that they were lower than the six million passengers who used the airport in January 2020.

Post-Pandemic Surge: Heathrow Experiences Busiest January
Busiest January at Heathrow Since Start of COVID-19

However, this occurs just before over 3,000 workers are scheduled to vote on whether or not to go on strike.

The union Unite has warned that any strikes could cause problems around Easter.

Getaway during the semester’s midpoint

The flight tracking data company Cirium reports that 17,458 aircraft are planned to depart UK airports during half-term, yet this is still 19% less than the same period in 2019.

According to Cirium, vacations booked for the month of February rose by 43% compared to the same period in 2017. Air travel was halted at the height of the pandemic, but this shows its “continuing recovery,” the report says.

“expecting a busy half-term as demand for travel continues to rebound to pre-pandemic levels,” the Association of British Travel Agents reported.

Heathrow’s services during school holidays, Mr Holland-Kaye said, have been “doing really well.”

With 98% of travellers waiting fewer than 10 minutes for security last month—typically a quieter time of year for UK passengers—Heathrow reported that its overall customer satisfaction was now “at or above pre-pandemic levels.”

Border Force e-gate trials for youngsters ages 10 and 11 were being conducted at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted over the half-term break, Heathrow said.

Those who are 12 or older and have a biometric passport can utilize the automated e-gates at airports and ports of entry to avoid having to go through customs.

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Airports and airlines in the UK struggled to hire enough workers to meet the increased demand for foreign travel once Covid restrictions were lifted, causing delays and cancellations for thousands of passengers.

A large number of people were laid off at airports and airlines during the height of the pandemic, and many of them never came back.

Consequences of a strike

The Unite union announced on Sunday that Heathrow’s security guards, engineers, and firefighters would begin voting on Friday on a potential strike over pay. This comes after union members rejected a 10% wage hike.

The union warned that a walkout would “inevitably bring major disruption” to Easter.

Because of the rising cost of living, thousands of workers in a variety of industries have asked for pay raises in recent months. Inflation, defined as the percentage by which prices have increased over the previous period, is now at 10.5% in the United Kingdom.

A representative for Heathrow Airport stated the airport was “very unhappy” by Unite’s decision and that the “pay offer will be rescinded” if strike action began. They claimed that the 10% raise was offered when the company was losing money.

While Heathrow said the strike by Border Force employees in December was “well managed,” the airport was closed for several days. The Border Force reportedly covered its 1,000 employees, many of whom are responsible for inspecting passports, with the help of military soldiers and civil servants, and travel delays were negligible.

Mr Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow for the past nine years, revealed earlier this month that he would be leaving his position later this year.

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During his time in power, he had to deal with the effects of Brexit, the Covidian pandemic, and the building of a third runway at Heathrow.

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