London’s Heathrow Airport does not expect air traffic to recover completely until at least 2026 as passenger numbers pick up only slowly from the pandemic.
Passenger numbers in the third quarter rose to 28% of pre-pandemic levels with cargo up to 90%.
The airport has now lost GBP3.4bn in total since the start of the pandemic but was confident it would recover.
Heathrow, which has multiple owners including Spain’s Ferrovial and the Qatar Investment Authority, said it had GBP4.1bn available in cash and the “financial strength…to be able to come through until the market recovers”.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive, added: “We are on the cusp of a recovery which will unleash pent-up demand, create new quality jobs and see Britain’s trade roar back to life – but it risks a hard landing unless secured for the long-haul.”
Heathrow is expecting a boost from 8 November when travel restrictions between the UK and US are lifted for fully vaccinated passengers.
Shares in British Airways owner IAG rose 4% to 162.5p.