Published on : Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Heathrow Airport has decided to temporarily close down two of its terminals. The move comes in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has adversely affected the aviation sector across the globe and result in a sharp plunge in passenger travel demand.
Over the coming weeks, Heathrow will consolidate operations of terminals two and five. Previously, the airport has already cut down operations to one runway after noticing a rapid drop in demand. Various airlines operating from the airport have already grounded the majority of flights. Heathrow is now using its available capacity to organise cargo flights with medical supplies.
In March the number of passengers came down by 52% as compared to the same time last year. This happened as the U.K. entered a nationwide lockdown and banned international travel as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
After the Foreign & Commonwealth Office issued an order against all but essential travel and stringent travel restrictions were undertaken across markets to curb the spread of the deadly virus, around three million journeys that were made last month were rescue operations. These flights only brought U.K. citizens stranded abroad back to their homeland.
With the latest forecasts showing passenger demand is set to decrease by over 90% in April, the situation is likely to continue. However, the airport said it is well-placed to receive time-critical and temperature-sensitive medical supplies, such as ventilators, medicines and COVID-19 testing kits, which are highly essential requirements at the moment.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow Airport said in a press statement that the airport continues to serve the nation by keeping vital supply lines open and helping people get home. He mentioned that it is important to agree on a common international standard for healthcare screening in airports at present. He explained that the action required as people can travel with confidence and help in the recovery of the British economy once again after the period of crisis is over.