Heathrow says Ukraine, fuel prices ratchet up uncertainty

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LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) – London’s Heathrow said concerns from U.S. travellers over war in Europe, longer flight times to avoid closed airspace, and higher fuel prices had added to lingering worries about COVID-19, creating “huge uncertainty” over the recovery in flying.

The UK’s largest airport said it had not seen as many passengers return last month as it expected, with 2.8 million passengers travelling through the hub, just over half of pre-pandemic levels and 15% below its forecast.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Aviation’s recovery remains overshadowed by war and COVID uncertainty.”

The airport said outbound traffic was recovering strongly but demand from inbound leisure and business travel remained suppressed by COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements in place in nearly two-thirds of the markets it served.

“While we hope that these will be removed, we also face headwinds from higher fuel prices, longer flight times to destinations impacted by airspace closures, concerns from U.S. travellers over war in Europe and the likelihood of new ‘Variants of Concern’, which together create huge uncertainty over the passenger forecasts this year,” it said.


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