London Heathrow anticipates traffic surge, to reopen terminal

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) said it will reopen its Terminal 3 this month in anticipation of higher traffic flows in the second half of the year.

The terminal was closed in May 2020 as the first wave of COVID-19 infections hit the UK. More recently, it has been used as the facility for passengers arriving from "red list" destinations with high rates of COVID-19. The new red list facility will be Terminal 4.

Initially, LHR's Terminal 3 will welcome back Virgin Atlantic and its transatlantic partner Delta Air Lines when it reopens on July 15. More carriers will gradually move back to Terminal 3 over the coming weeks. Those airlines have been operating out of Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 in recent months.

Virgin Atlantic’s route map includes several Caribbean destinations that are on the UK’s "green list" of countries where COVID-19 is not a major concern.

The move back to Terminal 3 is being undertaken “as passenger demand is expected to increase when [government] ministers let vaccinated passengers travel more freely,” a LHR spokesperson told the Aviation Week Network.

A swathe of COVID-19-related restrictions in the UK are set to be scrapped on July 19. The UK government has said that continuing to wear facemasks will become a matter of personal choice. However, several UK airlines have already said that they anticipate passengers having to continue to wear masks on board for some time.

Photo credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.