London's Heathrow airport to close 1 runway amid traffic fall


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 London's Heathrow airport will close one of its runways next week as air traffic continues to fall globally amid the coronavirus pandemic, it announced on Friday.

The London hub will operate its landings and takeoffs from one strip from April 6 to "increase resilience and safety for staff, passengers and cargo" throughout the outbreak, the Metro newspaper reported.

It has two runways and will alternate which one they keep open on a weekly basis.

In a statement, the airport said: "Although we are seeing significantly fewer flights at the moment, Heathrow will remain open so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during this unprecedented epidemic.'

In 2018, Heathrow served 80.1 million passengers, according to their website.

A total of 475,624 flights took off from the west London site in the same year.

The airport's announcement comes a day after British Airways said it was putting more than 30,000 staff on furlough due to the pandemic, reports the Metro newspaper.

Gatwick Airport, which recorded 47 million passengers last year, has also significantly scaled back its operations.

From Wednesday, April 1, the West Sussex airport closed one of its two terminals, and its runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The measures will be in place for at least a month.

Source: IANS

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