Heathrow airport has shut one of its runways and consolidated its operations across just two of its five terminals after March passenger numbers fell 52% to a little over three million.
The airport said many of these passenger journeys were repatriations following the Foreign Office’s decision to advise against all non-essential travel worldwide for the foreseeable future.
Britain’s busiest airport is now bracing for passenger numbers to plummet further to just 10% of its typical April traffic over the coming weeks, and has warned of "lasting and significant industry-wide effects" arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
Heathrow scaled back its operations to a single runway on 6 April, and will over the coming weeks channel all arrivals through two terminals - Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 – in an effort to "protect long-term jobs" by reducing operating costs and ensuring the airport remains "financially resilient".
The airport said it was ready to work with government and industry on new "rapid health screening" measures for passengers, prior to travel, to help develop "international consensus" on common practices and boost confidence in flying and airport operations.
It is also working with Public Health England to provide more hand sanitiser dispensers, implement new cleaning and sanitation procedures, and increase signage and floor stickering to encourage social distancing.