Heathrow has warned it needs to recruit and train up to 25,000 extra staff members as it admitted the pandemic recovery will take years.
After grappling with staff shortages over the summer, the airport said it needed to fill the vacancies with security-cleared workers, something it described as a “huge logistical challenge”.
The company said that while demand had improved over the summer, with 18m passengers passing through the airport, the impact of the war in Ukraine and global economic crisis meant it was unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels for “a number of years”.
Heathrow said it will end its cap on passenger numbers from Sunday but will continue to operate brief limits when needed on peak days in the run-up to Christmas.
Europe’s biggest airport said the “highly targeted mechanism” would enable airlines to encourage demand into less busy periods and avoid flight cancellations.
It came as the business reported a £442m loss in the three months to the end of September, adding to the £4bn lost over the previous two years.