Heathrow is planning a rapid opening of routes and facilities later this spring as the government signals an easing of the lockdown.
With the vaccination programme gathering pace there will be a gradual but significant restoration of the airports’ operations. Plans are already In place to reopen terminals three and four which were closed at the height of the pandemic.
The key date is May 17 when leisure flights are to be permitted as long as there is no deterioration in the covid situation in Britain.
“Ironically it is the state of play in the destination airports which is likely to be restricting factor” said one airport source.
“Europe is being particularly affected by the slow roll out of the vaccine but there are also problems in South America , Africa and even parts of the far east” , he said.
Business travel is crucially important for Heathrow and there are concerns that it will take many months, even years to get things back to normal. Some analysts even believe that the shift to video calling will become a permanent feature with long-term implications for the whole aviation business.