The Guardian - Julia Kollewe

Heathrow airport has warned it expects a drop-off in passenger numbers after a summer surge, with airlines already cancelling services into the autumn amid higher fuel costs, war in Ukraine and an expected fourth Covid wave.

The airport’s total pandemic losses have topped £4bn, but passenger numbers have started to recover after the UK government lifted travel restrictions. Heathrow said 9.7 million passengers passed through the airport in the first three months of the year, 8 million more than a year earlier, with many heading to destinations in North America and Europe.

January and February were much weaker than expected because of travel restrictions imposed after the Omicron variant emerged, while March passenger numbers rose to the highest since the start of the pandemic, after the unexpectedly rapid lifting of all UK travel restrictions on 18 March.

The airport made a £223m adjusted loss before tax in the first three months of the year, compared with £329m the same time last year. The group expects to remain loss-making this year, and to not pay any dividends to shareholders.

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