As London’s Heathrow Airport continues to consolidate its flight operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four more airlines have moved their flights to Terminal 2. Finnair, Qantas, and Qatar Airways are the latest airlines to change terminals.
As reported by aviation website Business Traveller, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Pakistan International Airlines all moved to Terminal 2 last week as Heathrow prepares to close Terminals 3 and 4. What this now means is that all fights will operate out of Terminals 2 or 5 until the coronavirus pandemic is over, and airlines start to resume normal flight operations.
Heathrow has listed all the changes on its website
From today, Monday, April 20, Beijing Capital Airlines, Qantas and Finnair will switch from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 while Qatar Airways will move its operations from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2.
As far as Qantas flights are concerned, the airline announced on its coronavirus information page that the Australian national flag carrier would only be operating repatriation flights out of London Heathrow.
Currently, this is limited to one weekly flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and Melbourne Airport (MEL).
On the Heathrow Airport website’s terminals guide page, Heathrow has made a list of the changes with new updated information on airlines and terminals. In a message to passengers, the airport operator says that,
“It is very important that those passengers, who are using Heathrow for essential travel, keep in touch with their airline to confirm which terminal their flight departs from before traveling to the airport.”
Heathrow only has one runway open
Along with a reduction in terminals, the world’s seventh busiest airport in passenger numbers closed one of its two runways following a massive drop off in flights due to COVID-19.
While reporting on the runway closure, the Daily Express quotes a Heathrow Airport spokesperson as saying:
“Although we are seeing significantly fewer flights at the moment, Heathrow will remain open so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during this unprecedented epidemic.”
Repatriation flights have been arriving at Heathrow
Since 2005, Heathrow Airport has been releasing monthly passenger numbers with the latest from March showing a decline of 52% compared to the same month last year. Many of these passengers were United Kingdom nationals that were stranded overseas after counties started closing their borders.
To stop the coronavirus from spreading, many nations locked down with preventative measures that included closing airports and ports. Those British nationals who did not leave before the shutdown had no way to get home. To facilitate their return to the United Kingdom, the British government chartered aircraft for repatriation flights that all arrived at London Heathrow.
While a drop of 52% in passenger numbers is never a good thing for an airport, we can only assume April’s figures will be much worse after the repatriations flights come to an end.