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  • 30 SEPTEMBER 2020
    The following is an update on the southern runway works and the number of flight movements we expect to see at Heathrow in October.

    Southern runway works

    Repairs to our southern runway are due to be complete ahead of schedule and we are expecting this to be completed by Saturday 3 October at 07:00. We will, therefore, return to normal runway operations from this time, as published in our runway alternation schedule.

    We were only able to operate from the northern runway during certain time periods while the repair works were completed. We appreciate this may have caused disruption for some local communities, however, by undertaking the repairs while flight volumes were significantly lower than normal we have been able to carry them out in the fastest and most efficient way. This should minimise unplanned repairs in the future, causing less disruption to both our operations and local communities.

    Approximately every 10 years, full-length resurfacing works take place on each runway - the last time this was carried out to the southern runway was in 2013. The next resurfacing works for the southern runway are planned for 2022/23 and these works will now be simplified as a result of the repairs carried out this year.

    More information about the works can be found here.

    Flight movements

    At the end of August, we said we expected to see a decrease in flight movements in September compared with August due to reduced passenger demand as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and the Government’s quarantine policy.

    We expected to see between 400-580 flight movements a day during the month, based on forecast information, and that numbers could vary as airlines revised their schedules. As of today (30 September 2020), the lowest number of flights in the month so far has been 399 (29 September) and the highest has been 560 (20 September).

    Based on our latest forecast, we are expecting to see between 520-700 flight movements a day during October. This is an increase on September mainly due to airlines trying to stimulate the market by increasing the number of flights. Of course these numbers may vary based on the reasons outlined above.

    Winter period

    Heathrow has, unfortunately, not seen the recovery in passenger numbers that we hoped for over the summer season and, due to no further advances in introducing airport testing, we face uncertainty over the winter period on how COVID-19 will affect our flight numbers. This uncertainty means it is difficult to predict how our operations will be impacted during winter.

    As a result, we will continuously review the situation and the implications for the airport. This may include further consolidation of our operations including the possibility of returning to single runway operations if flight numbers significantly reduce from current volumes.

    We will keep you updated on any changes to our runway operations.