Heathrow has provided an update on passenger traffic, with over one million people departing the airport in the first ten days of the summer holidays period, and 13 million customers expected to travel in and out of the London hub between July and September.
The million-passenger ten-day figure is pretty much as high as traffic can reach at Heathrow currently, due to the cap of 100,000 daily passengers recently imposed by the airport in attempt to reduce delays and cancellations.
Heathrow said that there had “already been an improvement in punctuality, shorter waits for bags to be delivered to reclaim halls and fewer cancelled flights” as a result of the cap.
In the update the airport said that “Currently, 80 per cent of Heathrow passengers will clear security within 20 minutes or less, although queues can be longer at our busiest times”.
However it added that leisure passengers – which currently make up the majority of customers at Heathrow – “often travel with more luggage and are less familiar with travel rules which can slow their progress through the airport, particularly at check-in and security checkpoints”.
Heathrow said that its data showed that at least 60 per cent of bags rejected at security checkpoints are subjected to hand searches because passengers haven’t removed all liquids from bags.
This led to passengers spending an estimated extra 2.1 minutes in security in July alone, said the airport.
Last month Heathrow blamed a lack of airline ground handling for disruption this summer, stating that it had been raising its concerns over the lack of handlers for nine months.
Commenting on the news Heathrow’s chief operating officer Emma Gilthorpe, said:
“My colleagues and I are thrilled to welcome so many passengers back to Heathrow again after two years of Covid cancellations and empty terminal buildings. The pandemic has been rough on the travel sector, but as we emerge and ramp-up operations, everyone at Heathrow is working hard to get you on your journeys.
“We’re focused on getting back to giving you the excellent service you expect every time you travel, and by following our top tips – including ensuring liquids are packed correctly, you arrive on time and you have the correct travel documents – you can help us get you into holiday mode this summer.”
Last month Gatwick airport revealed that around 10,000 hand luggage items are rejected by its security scanners each day, adding an average of five minutes to the time needed to complete checks.