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

ByTravelling For Business

December 21, 2022
The UK’s largest airport London Heathrow catered for six million passengers in August as its recovery was held back by its self-imposed cap on passenger numbers.

London Heathrow is expecting a rise in business travel as part of its overall traffic in 2023, signalling a promising recovery trend in the corporate market following recent months’ developments.

According to a report presented to investors, business travellers comprised 21.5 per cent of Heathrow’s total passenger traffic in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 28 per cent during the same period in 2019.

Heathrow forecasts accommodating approximately 61.4 million passengers this year, aligning with the upper end of its previous projections and representing about 75 per cent of 2019’s traffic. This growth trend contrasts sharply with the significantly reduced passenger numbers of 22.1 million in 2020 and 19.4 million in 2021.

While outbound leisure travel remains a key driver of demand, the airport notes a notable recovery in inbound leisure and business travel. Passenger growth has been observed across all regions, with Latin America, North America, and Europe particularly contributing to the increase compared to 2021.

Looking ahead, Heathrow foresees a slower rebound in overall traffic for 2023 due to prevailing economic uncertainties. A 9.5 per cent increase to 67.2 million passengers is projected for next year, still 17 per cent below pre-Covid figures.

The airport attributes this anticipated slowdown to economic factors, including the recessionary conditions in key markets and ongoing geopolitical tensions such as the Ukraine-Russian conflict. However, it remains optimistic about the gradual easing of restrictions in East Asia throughout 2023.

Heathrow expects its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to reach £1.7 billion in 2022, a significant increase from its previous forecast in June. EBITDA is forecasted to rise by 4 per cent in 2023 to £1.75 billion, reflecting the airport’s continued financial resilience amid evolving market dynamics.