Heathrow says it is ready for its “biggest Christmas in three years”, as the airport gears up for the festive peak season.

The London hub has had a testing 2022, with the ramp up in passengers following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions leading to delays and cancellations.

The airport imposed a capacity cap over the summer, which was only removed at the end of October, and last month Heathrow warned that the threat of restrictions over the Christmas period remained.

The airport said at the time that there was the possibility of “a highly targeted mechanism that, if needed, would align supply and demand on a small number of peak days in the lead up to Christmas” – leading to criticism by Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark.

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But in its latest update the airport said that it had been working with airlines and their ground handlers to prepare for the Christmas peak, “and have a good plan, which will not require any capacity cap”.

The airport did however highlight potential industrial action at a number of organisations, including a national Border Force strike, and said that it was “supporting organisations on contingency plans to minimise any impact, and encourage all parties to put the interests of passengers first”.

Later this month strike action is set to involve 700 Heathrow workers employed by Dnata and Menzies, beginning in the early hours of November 18 and lasting three days.

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Heathrow said that it welcomed 5.9 million passengers in October, equating to 84 per cent of 2019 levels, and so far this year 50 million travellers have passed through the airport – 74 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The airport also said that “At current rates of recruitment, we are on track to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels before the peak summer holiday period in 2023”.

Commenting on the news Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye, said:

“We have come so far since Omicron grounded Christmas travel plans last year. Heathrow, our airline partners and their handlers are all working together to make sure everyone can be reunited with their loved ones this Christmas.”