Heathrow airport said passenger numbers were down around 97% in April due to the coronavirus pandemic but that “even with no passengers” it has enough liquidity to keep going for another 12 months.
The west London hub, which is owned by Spanish construction group Ferrovial and the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar and Singapore, remains open but given the significantly reduced passenger traffic is operating with just a single runway since 6 April and has shuttered two of its five terminals.
“Heathrow is proud to serve Britain by remaining open for repatriating UK citizens and critical supplies of PPE,” said chief executive John Holland-Kaye.
“When we have beaten this virus, we will need to get Britain flying again so that the economy can recover as fast as possible. That is why we are calling on the UK government to take a lead in setting a Common International Standard for safe air travel.”
Some 14.6mln passengers travelled through Heathrow in the first quarter, down 18.3% compared to the 17.9mln a year ago.
The wider group was said to have £3.2bn in liquidity and no debt maturing in the next 12 months.
Cash stood at £2.5bn at the end of March, having drawn down an additional £1.5bn of pre-agreed lending facilities and raised an additional £80mln from bonds.
A day earlier, International Consolidated Airlines Group‘s (LON:IAG) British Airways, which uses Heathrow as its main UK hub but had grounded the majority of its fleet due to the virus, said it may also suspend the rest of its Heathrow operations.
BA was also reported to have told staff that it may not return to rival Gatwick airport once the coronavirus pandemic recedes.