But Pascall & Watson says 2022 is shaping up to be significantly better

Transport architect Pascall & Watson said revenue continued to fall last year as the impact of the pandemic on its core aviation market continued to wreck its bottom line.

It said turnover in 2021 was down to £10.6m from £16.2m the year before which itself was a near 50% fall on the £30.7m it posted in both 2019 and 2018.

The airports sector has been particularly hit by the pandemic with passenger numbers at Heathrow Airport, the UK’s biggest, hitting 19.4 million last year compared to the 80.9 million who passed through in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

heathrow 2022

The summer getaway is expected to help Heathrow’s annual passenger numbers rise by more than half this year

In its accounts filed at Companies House, Pascall & Watson said the problems meant it slipped into the red last year racking up a £141,000 pre-tax loss from a £23,000 profit last time.

It said the number of employees had fallen to 111 from 178 although its wage bill accounted for nearly two-thirds of its income at £6.5m.

The firm, which also works in Ireland and Abu Dhabi, claimed close to £233,500 from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme last year, having being handed £1.1m in 2020.

But in the accounts, which were signed off in July, the firm said 2022 was looking significantly brighter. “There are definite signs of recovery,” it said. “Our workload is increasing, we are actively recruiting in UK and Abu Dhabi. Both revenues and profits are forecast to increase over the coming year.”

In the six months to June this year, 26 million passengers passed through Heathrow with the airport expecting full year numbers to be 54.4 million.

Meanwhile, the architect said both the pandemic and Brexit had seen a number of it EU employees leave the firm. “In our recruitment activity over the past few months it is evident that many practices are competing for the same resources – which in turn is resulting in higher salaries.”

And it added that the war in Ukraine meant that a major scheme it had been chasing for “many months” in neighbouring Poland was now in doubt.