The UK’s busiest airport has today resumed normal two-runway operations after almost a year.
Heathrow’s southern runway was originally closed on 12 July last year following the collapse of passenger traffic during the coronavirus pandemic, as a cost-saving measure.
Since the winter, operations have alternated between the two runways. But from the start of business on 5 July, aircraft are now using both runways.
Even though movements are still less than half what they were in 2019, the aim is to minimise capacity-related delays.
Heathrow’s chief executive has also announced that Terminal 3 will reopen on 15 July.
John Holland-Kaye said: “With passenger demand expected to increase when ministers permit fully vaccinated passengers to travel more freely, Heathrow is getting ready to welcome you back.
“We have recommenced two-runway operations, and will reopen Terminal 3 from 15 July when all services from Virgin Atlantic and Delta will resume in T3.”
At present only two of Heathrow’s four terminals are in use: Terminals 2 and 5.
Terminal 4 is currently being used for arrivals direct from “red list” countries such as India, Qatar and the UAE. There are no plans to open it for normal operations until next year.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe.
According to data from Air Service One, compiled by Ralph Anker, it had slipped to 17th in May 2021 – but Heathrow still handled five times more passengers than any other UK airport.
Europe’s busiest airports are in Moscow and Istanbul. In western Europe, the league table is topped by Madrid with Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris CDG and Palma de Mallorca making up the top five.