Monday 13 July 2020 7:46 am

Heathrow calls for help as passenger numbers crash 95 per cent

Heathrow airport has called on the government to act faster to protect the aviation industry as it said passenger numbers crashed 95 per cent in June compared to a year earlier.

The airport again hit out at the government’s travel quarantine policy, saying it has already hit capacity and linking it to the grounding of long-haul flights.

Read more: Heathrow Airport to begin job cuts as passenger numbers flatline

Aviation companies have been particularly aggrieved by the quarantine policy, which says travellers from certain countries must isolate for 14 days when they arrive back in England.

However, the government has said passengers arriving from more than 60 countries deemed safe will not have to quarantine when they arrive back in England. The list includes many popular holiday destinations.

In a statement today, Heathrow said it welcomed the “travel corridors” policy. Yet it said that “further pace is needed to move past quarantine”.

Heathrow urged the government to act faster in establishing common international standards that would allow safer travel to critical trading routes.

It also said that it is ready to swab-test people who arrive at the airport, in partnership with airport services firms Swissport and Collinson. The airport said this could mean Covid-free passengers arriving from higher risk countries do not have to quarantine.

In stark statistics, Heathrow said passenger numbers were down 95.2 per cent in June compared to the start of last year’s summer season at just 350,000.

Cargo tonnage was less badly affected but also hit hard, falling 31.8 per cent year on year to 89,000.

Read more: Aviation industry hails ‘turning point’ as quarantine scrapped for 60 countries

“Travel corridors were a great first step and now we need to go further to protect jobs and kickstart the economy, by allowing healthy passengers to travel freely between the UK and the rest of the world,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

He called on the government to “take a global lead in setting up” a pilot testing system. He said Heathrow was ready to go with its scheme.