MIAMI – In a statement this week, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) unveiled that its traffic went down by 82% year-over-year in October. According to LHR, this is the eighth consecutive month of “catastrophic decline.” It also sees an “even worse” November due to the current travel ban.

London Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye remarked that aviation is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy. LHR handles 41% of the UK’s imported pharmaceutical supplies. Thus, Holland-Kaye adamant in saying that the lack of government action was weakening the sector. He added that this situation makes it harder to support any form of economic recovery.

Apart from its passenger operations, LHR’s cargo volumes went down by 23% in comparison with 2019. The airport attributes this decline to the government “debilitating” quarantine requirements affecting long-haul operations and critical markets for trade.

The airport already closed Terminal 3 and 4 due to the low passenger demand. Photo: London Heathrow Airport.

Overall Traffic Stats


The airport’s October results show a major drop in North American operations in passenger and cargo traffic compared to the same period last year. For the former, LHR recorded a 94.6% drop for the month; for the latter, the decline is 28.5%. As for the year, the results show a decline of 64.5% for passenger operations and for those of cargo, 26.9%.

Following the downtrend, the Asian/Pacific region, the Middle East, and Latin America recorded a major passenger impact for LHR, with 87.4%, 82.5%, and 82.1%, respectively. Regarding the UK’s passenger traffic, this market is the less affected one. The report shows a drop of 71.9% for October 2020 and a 55.3% fall year-over-year.

FOr LHR’s cargo traffic, Asia/Pacific numbers show a major negative impact with a drop of 31.8% in October. Latin America and the UK closely followed, recording a drop of 22.6% and 29.7%, respectively. Finally, for their year-over-year performance, the Latin American market reported a drop of 36% while that of Asia/Pacific records a fall by 31.2%.

Despite LHR’s cargo traffic results showing an 8.4% change when comparing November 2019 to October 2020, the airport forecasts a worse downturn. It said that the lack of a testing regime has left UK airports unable to compete with EU rivals. So far, the government’s refusal to offer English and Welsh airports a business rate relief just threaten the industry more, LHR claims.


Featured photo: Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport. Photo: Pascall Watson.