Independent - Simon Calder

Plane Talk: Stansted is closest to pre-pandemic passenger numbers, while Heathrow is back at 2001 levels

London Heathrow welcomed 61.6 million passengers last year. That is 24 per cent fewer than in 2019 but three times higher than 2021. Heathrow says it saw “the highest passenger increase of any airport in Europe”. (Gatwick, up five-fold, disagrees.)

Of Britain’s “big four” airports, Gatwick was clobbered hardest by the government’s response to Covid. In April 2019 the busiest routes were Barcelona, Dublin and Malaga, with Dubai and Orlando not far behind.

Crushing travel restrictions in 2021, including a 19-week ban on overseas holidays, reduced traffic at Gatwick by 86 per cent.

Manchester airport welcomed 23.4 million passengers, exactly 20 per cent down on its best year, 2019.

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