London's Heathrow Airport could temporarily close some terminals in response to vastly reduced flights and passenger numbers as the coronavirus looks to settle in for an extended stay.
"Heathrow will take steps to reorganise and shrink our operation to remain open throughout this crisis," the airport said in a media statement issued today, which described the Covid-19 pandemic as "a seismic challenge for the global aviation industry."
Keeping Heathrow open will enable some passenger services to continue, as well as facilitating cargo operations which will safeguard vital supply lines for the UK."
Executive Traveller understands that Heathrow has drawn up a series of contingency plans for which terminals might be closed and how they could, in the short-term, even be repurposed to deal with a very different airport than the one which until recently was lobbying for the construction of a third runway to cope with record demand.
Some speculation is that Terminal 3 or Terminal 4 could be shut down and potentially used to park grounded aircraft, with airlines reassigned to another terminal.
British Airways also is said to be considering moving its remaining Terminal 3 flights – most of which spear into Europe, with a handful of longer-range routes to the US and South Africa – across to its main Terminal 5, which would allow BA to reduce operating costs including closing its T3 lounges.
Executive Traveller has approached BA for comment but had not received a response by the time this article was published.
In related news, Cathay Pacific will slash its Hong Kong - London Heathrow route to just three flights a week, down from the five daily flights it ran only a few months ago, while British Airways will cancel all flights from London City Airport as of Monday 23 March 2020.
London City is perhaps best known as one end of BA's all-business class service to New York, which has now been suspended until September 2020.