Heathrow hit by 600,000 Omicron cancellations in December – business live

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Heathrow Airport has warned that the aviation sector faces a “long-haul recovery”, after the omicron variant sparked a rush of cancelled flights last month.

The UK’s largest airport has revealed that at least 600,000 Heathrow passengers cancelled travel plans in December, after the discovery of the Omicron variant led to travel restrictions to be imposed.

For 2021 as a whole, Heathrow says it only saw 19.4 million passengers – less than one quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, when it handled 80.9m. That’s also around 12% less than in 2020 (when it handled 22.1m passengers).

Heathrow travel statistics for December

Heathrow travel statistics for December Photograph: Heathrow

And the outlook looks uncertain, Heathrow warns, as it urges ministers to drop Covid-19 testing for fully vaccinated passengers to encourage travel.

It says:

  • There is significant doubt over the speed at which demand will recover. IATA forecasts suggest passenger numbers will not reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025, provided travel restrictions are removed at both ends of a route and passengers have confidence they will not return rapidly
  • We are urging the UK government to remove all testing now for fully vaccinated passengers and to adopt a playbook for any future Variants of Concern that is more predictable, limits additional measures only to passengers from high-risk destinations and allows quarantine at home instead of in a hotel

Olly Barratt


Heathrow says 600 000 people cancelled travel plans from the airport in December, because of concerns over Omicron, and govt travel restrictions

January 11, 2022

Olly Barratt

Heathrow again urges the government to remove all testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers.

Heathrow welcomed 19.4 million passengers in 2021 – a quarter of 2019’s numbers, and below 2020 levels.

January 11, 2022

Also coming up today

European markets are set to open higher, after worries about possible US interest rate rises hit stocks on Monday.


European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7481 +0.48%#DAX 15887 +0.75%#CAC 7174 +0.82%#AEX 781 +1.01%#MIB 27492 +0.51%#IBEX 8771 +0.74%#OMX 2371 +0.77%#SMI 12671 +0.59%#STOXX 4279 +0.94%#IGOpeningCall

January 11, 2022

Wall Street managed a late recovery last night, after the Nasdaq Composite index dipped into correction territory (10% off its record high), ahead of Wednesday’s US inflation report.

Francine Lacqua

BTD. Nasdaq rebounded. Waiting on CPI tomorrow

January 11, 2022

Asia-Pacific stocks have dropped today though, with Australia’s S&P/ASX down 0.8%.

Kyle Rodda of IG explains:

Stocks have remained on the backfoot today, with sentiment across the ASX200 particularly weak.

Global pressures stemming from heightened volatility on Wall Street and fears about tighter global monetary policy are probably behind some of that, as is a market discounting marginally weaker profits from what’s shaping as a fairly material hit to the Australian economy from the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Investors will be keen to hear from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell today, when he appears before the Senate banking committee for a confirmation hearing.

Powell, who has been nominated for a second term, will be questioned about the Fed’s plan to control rising prices, and its recent hawkish twist.

In testimony released overnight, Powell says the central bank is prepared to take action to ensure elevated inflation does not become entrenched, while also pointing out that the post-pandemic economy may look different than before.

The agenda

  • 9.30am GMT: World Economic Forum publishes Global Risks Report 2022.
  • 9.30am GMT: UK labour productivity statistics for Q3 2021
  • 11am GMT: NFIB index of US business optimism
  • 3pm GMT: US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s confirmation hearing at the Senate banking committee


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