Heathrow Airport today reported that its August passenger demand is down 81.5% compared to last year, with 1.4m people travelling via Heathrow less than a fifth of what is usually seen in the summer getaway - whilst calling on the Government to introduce testing as an alternative to 14 day quarantine, to aid aviation's recovery.
Image courtesy Heathrow
Long haul markets, which are critical for UK exporters and a main source of inbound tourism, students and investment, remain closed by the UK Government’s 14 day quarantine policy. North American passenger numbers are down by more than 95% compared to last year.
Heathrow cargo is down 34.2% (to 88 metric tonnes) compared with last year, with more businesses struggling to get their products to markets as Government restrictions have severed air links. This decrease is despite more dedicated cargo flights coming into the airport this August – 1,923 - than last year - 218.
More than 30 airports are already using testing as a safe alternative to 14 day quarantine and getting their economies moving – Frankfurt airport has overtaken Heathrow, an early warning that Britain’s economy will fall behind if we don’t protect our global trading network.
Heathrow has now trialled three rapid point of care testing solutions and has a facility for testing passengers on arrival. The airport is ready to go on testing and waiting on Government to make a decision.
Heathrow is urging the Government to introduce testing as an alternative to 14 day quarantine to protect millions of jobs across the UK and to kickstart the economic recovery. A robust testing regime should form part of a suite of measures as no one action in the fight against Covid-19 can be seen as a silver bullet.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive said: “Britain’s economic recovery is falling behind. Heathrow’s traffic figures for August demonstrate the extent to which quarantine is strangling the economy, cutting British businesses off from their international markets and blocking international students, tourists and investors from coming here to spend money.
"The Government has announced it is looking at the options for reducing quarantine for passengers who test negative for Covid-19 - but Ministers urgently need to turn words into action. Every day of further Government delay costs British jobs and livelihoods.”