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Heathrow sees first small profit since 2019 – results for the year ended 31 Dec 2023

Heathrow

The airport attempt to welcome a record 81.4 million – more passengers than ever before. 

UK’s hub flies high in 2023 with much improved service and strong growth – 2023 was a strong year for Heathrow, with passenger numbers recovering to 79.2 million, the third highest year in Heathrow’s history. The UK’s hub outperformed all other European hubs by being rated as the “best airport in Europe”, claimed the title of the world’s “most connected” hub and broke into the top five largest airports in the world.

  • Small adjusted profit recorded for the first time since 2019 – A strong Q4 performance helped us reach our first adjusted profit in four years with £38 million adjusted profit before tax. Our balance sheet remains strong, with gearing below pre-pandemic levels and £3.8 billion of liquidity. Airport charges were reduced by 20% in real terms at the start of 2024 in line with the CAA’s H7 settlement, which means maintaining even a small profit will require us to close a £400 million gap with efficiencies and investment trade-offs over the next three years. We are finalising a refreshed business strategy, which will be shared in the months ahead. No dividends were paid in 2023, and none are currently forecast for 2024, although it is plausible subject to financial performance. We will continue to review optionality through the year.
  • New investments to improve service and boost resilience – Behind-the-scenes investments are underway across the airport to boost passenger experience and operational resilience. We are upgrading 146 security lanes as part of our £1 billion  investment in next generation security equipment, and we have appointed a lead contractor to replace the T2 baggage system.
  • Sustainability remains at the heart of Heathrow – Significant strides were made towards our Heathrow 2.0 commitments, including launching the Giving Back Programme which will deliver activities to nearly 100,000 local people. Record amounts of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) were used at Heathrow during 2023, including powering the inaugural 100% SAF transatlantic flight, and we committed to incentivising the use of up to 155,000 tonnes of SAF in 2024.
  • Ministers should use the Spring Budget to stand up for Britain – UK consumers will pay more to travel in the future if Ministers do not speed up the delivery of a domestic SAF industry, and the Chancellor makes the UK a magnet for international tourism spend by levelling the playing field with the UK’s European rivals and bringing back tax free shopping. The Spring Budget should not miss the chance to deliver change on both of these key issues for the economy.

Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said: “2023 was a good year for Heathrow from a challenging start to a great finish – We delivered much improved service for our customers, and managed to turn a small profit after three consecutive years of losses. That’s a great platform to build on, although  in 2024, we are expected to deliver even further improved service to more passengers, but with airport charges cut by 20% in real terms. We will have to pull every lever to become more efficient and make tough choices on where we spend and invest our money to overcome the huge cost challenge set by the CAA and remain profitable over the next three years.”

At year ended 31 December 2023 2022 Change (%)
(£m unless otherwise stated)
Revenue 3,687 2,913 26.6
Adjusted EBITDA(1) (4) 2,228 1,684 32.3
Cash generated from operations 2,092 1,719 21.7
Profit before tax 701 169 314.8
Adjusted profit/(loss) before tax(2) (4) 38 (684) 105.6
Heathrow (SP) Limited consolidated nominal net debt(3) (4) 14,795 14,579 1.5
Heathrow Finance plc consolidated nominal net debt(3) (4) 16,806 15,786 6.5
Regulatory Asset Base(5)(4) 19,804 19,182 3.2
Passengers (million)(6) 79.2 61.6 28.6
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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