Heathrow records busiest month since before the pandemic as 1.5M travelers pass through airport
July was Heathrow Airport's busiest month since the coronavirus pandemic brought the travel industry to a halt.
More than 1.5 million passengers passed through Heathrow (LHR) last month, the most since March of 2020. It's also a 74% increase from July of last year when virtually all nonessential travel remained grounded.
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The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the government relaxing travel restrictions in the UK has sent more people hurrying to book flights and come through Heathrow, a welcome sight for airport officials. “Finally, some blue skies are on the horizon, as travel and trade routes slowly reopen. The job, though, is far from complete,” according to Heathrow's chief operating officer Emma Gilthorpe.
A bustling Heathrow is an encouraging sign that the travel recovery is taking shape, but the airport still has a ways to go. Consider this: Heathrow's July numbers are still down 81 percent from the passenger traffic it experienced in July 2019. Recent analysis showed Heathrow, once Europe's busiest airport, is now just the 17th busiest hub.
Still, there are reasons for optimism, such as JetBlue's JFK to Heathrow service whose first flight landed in London last week.
Related: What it was like on JetBlue's first London flight
The airport is also back to using all four terminals again as Virgin Atlantic and Delta are back in their Terminal 3 space. The airport had condensed operations into two terminals once the pandemic took hold and grounded most flights.
Also, fully vaccinated American visitors can now fly to the UK without having to quarantine. That is expected to lead to an increase in travelers passing through Heathrow. And there is hope that the U.S. will soon move the UK to its safe travel list so fully vaccinated passengers can resume leisure travel as they did before.
Related: Flying JetBlue Mint to London