Heathrow Airport urges industry to fight against Covid-19 pandemic

24 March 2020 (Last Updated March 24th, 2020 14:29)

London Heathrow Airport in the UK has called on airlines and freight companies to increase their use of the airport's quieter schedule to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heathrow Airport urges industry to fight against Covid-19 pandemic
Heathrow Airport Terminal 3. Credit: Panhard.

London Heathrow Airport in the UK has called on airlines and freight companies to increase their use of the airport’s quieter schedule to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The continuation of air freight will ensure that important supply lines stay open and aid the delivery of time-dependant and temperature-sensitive goods across the country.

Logistics companies have begun bringing in Covid-19 testing kits via Heathrow Airport to tackle their increasing demand in the country.

It is estimated that the cargo movements next week at Heathrow will increase by 53% as airlines and freighters start using the available capacity to move goods that can assist the fight against the coronavirus.

Pharmaceutical products are among the top imports at Heathrow Airport, which handles 41% of the country’s pharmaceutical imports.

While passenger travel remains restricted for many, airports will continue to play a key role in keeping the UK’s supply chain alive, for both essential workers and goods. This is why Heathrow will be repurposing its operations and scaling up its cargo offering at this difficult time.

In order to support the airline industry during the crisis, Heathrow has adopted different steps, which include supporting slot alleviation, offering free parking to grounded aircraft and bringing forward growth incentive payments.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “This is an unprecedented time for the international community, with Covid-19 requiring us all to work together, adapt and adopt extraordinary measures to quell the spread of this virus.

“For the first time in a decade, our airport has additional capacity in its schedule, capacity which we’ve begun to see used to help push vital supplies across the globe to help support frontline teams in the battle against this pandemic.

“We stand ready to support the country through this crisis. Our intention is to remain open at all times to serve those passenger flights that will continue to operate. And as the UK’s biggest port, we will temporarily increase the number of dedicated cargo flights. These will bring in vital supplies of food and medical equipment to help Britain weather this storm.”

Recently, the UK’s Manchester Airport announced that it was operating all flights from Terminal 1 and closing its second and third terminals as a result of the reduced demand caused by Covid-19.