Friday 11 September 2020 8:26 am

Heathrow passenger numbers plummet more than 80 per cent in August

Heathrow Airport has reported an 81.5 per cent fall in passengers for August compared with last year and has called on the government again to change quarantine rules.

The London-based airport was the busiest in Europe prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but has suffered significantly this year.

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It said its passengers from North America had fallen by 95 per cent compared with August 2019 and blamed the quarantine rules for deterring long-haul travel.

Heathrow once again called upon the government to replace the 14-day quarantine with a suitable testing system.

“Heathrow urges 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,” the airport said in a statement on Friday.

Heathrow’s CEO added that unless changes were implemented, the current system would see businesses across the aviation industry go bust.

“Unless something changes, we are going to see airports and airlines going bust over the coming months,” John Holland-Kaye told Sky News.

“The government can fix this by changing the rules so that if you test negative for Covid-19, you can come out of quarantine early.

“That will just remove some of the risk that outbound passengers have, of not knowing whether they’ll have to quarantine when they come back from their visit, but also make it easier for visitors to come to this country to spend their money, because they won’t have to quarantine for 14 days, which would cover the entire length of their own holiday.”

The government has previously refuted this idea because such tests only detect around seven per cent of cases, according to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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But Holland-Kaye suggested a shorter quarantine of five days followed by a second coronavirus test as a more full-proof alternative.

“A lot of other countries, such as Germany and France, have been doing testing as an alternative to quarantine, and their aviation markets, while not back to normal, are much healthier than ours are,” he said.