London's Heathrow Airport has delayed the planned reopening of Terminal 3 due to "ongoing uncertainty" over rolling travel restrictions imposed by the UK government.
T3, which was shuttered in April 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic made its first sweep around the world, was previously slated to welcome back selected airlines and passengers from May 17, with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines among the first to return.
That timeline has now been pushed back to at least the end of May, with early June also considered a realistic restart.
"We are continuing to prepare for the restart of international travel and putting plans in place to scale-up our operations and in particular restarting operations in Terminal 3," a Heathrow spokesperson told Executive Traveller.
"Without confirmation from the Government and continuous uncertainty around country categorisation, we now consider that the earliest Terminal 3 could reopen is 24 May."
"We will continue to keep this date under review and look forward to the forthcoming Government announcement."
Following the closure of T3 and T4 across April-May 2020, all airlines flying into and out of Heathrow have been doing so from Terminals 2 and 5, although a steady uptick in air travel has resulted in pressure to bring some airlines back to their nominal homes.
"Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are looking forward to welcoming back customers to London Heathrow’s Terminal 3," a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told Executive Traveller.
"The airlines continue to work alongside Heathrow Airport to enable a smooth return once the Terminal reopens."
However, Executive Traveller understands that Virgin's Heathrow Clubhouse and Upper Class Wing will temporarily remain closed even once the airline is back at T3.
Emirates, another of T3's former marquee airlines, was said to be drawing up plans for its own return but declined to comment for this article.
Cathay Pacific, which is reportedly set to resume passenger flights from Britain this week for the first time since December 2020, still lists LHR T2 on its schedule.
Asked about a possible shift back to T3, where it has arguably the terminal's best first class and business class lounges, a Cathay Pacific spokesperson advised Executive Traveller "we will inform our customers at the appropriate time."
Qantas, which invested in its own upmarket lounge at T3, intends to resume the bulk of international flying from October 31 and shows two daily Boeing 787-9 flights to and from Heathrow via Singapore and Perth.