London’s Heathrow airport will close one of its two runways on Monday after flight numbers dropped due to the coronavirus crisis.
“It is about increasing resilience and security for employees, passengers, and cargo during the COVID-19 outbreak,” a spokesman for Europe’s largest airport said late Thursday evening, Britain’s news agency PA reported.
The spokesman said that the airport would remain open even if there were significantly fewer flights worldwide, PA news reported.
The airport forecasted a 53 percent surge in weekly cargo movements as it has started to prioritize flights with medical supplies, a letter from Heathrow officials said on March 27.
“Whilst passenger travel remains restricted for many, we’ll continue to play a key role in safely keeping the UK’s supply chain alive,” Heathrow airport said on Twitter Thursday.
Heathrow, a major international hub, says it is the busiest airport in the world, handling more than 80 million passengers last year. In total, more than 475,600 planes take off from the airport in 2019.
A total of 90 airlines operate out of Heathrow, servicing more than 180 destinations. More than 33,000 people in Britain have been infected with COVID-19 as of Thursday, local sources said. The number of deaths rose by 569 in one day to bring the total count to 2921.