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Heathrow records lowest annual passenger numbers for nearly 50 years

Just 19.4 million people travelled through the west London airport last year, representing the lowest annual total since 1972.

23 February 2022

Heathrow has revealed it was the only hub airport in Europe to see a reduction in passenger numbers in 2021, due to the UK’s tougher coronavirus travel rules.

Just 19.4 million people travelled through the west London airport last year.

That was down 12.3% on the previous 12 months, and represents the lowest annual total since 1972.

The airport blamed its poor performance in comparison with European rivals on the UK’s tighter restrictions on international travel.

Cost savings of £870 million were achieved in the past two years, but pre-tax losses still came in at £3.8 billion due to high fixed costs and low passenger numbers.

Bosses said they are hopeful for a strong summer rebound, contributing to 45.5 million passengers using the airport this year, but they reported lower-than-expected passenger numbers in January and February.

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