Heathrow now 10th busiest European airport as passenger slump goes on
Heathrow Airport has this morning urged ministers to streamline the UK’s travel restrictions as it revealed it had fallen to 10th on the list of Europe’s busiest airports.
It said that passenger numbers at the airport last month were down 71 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.
It blamed the ongoing slump on “ever-changing restrictions, expensive and unnecessary testing requirements and lack of a common approach across borders”.
In order to boost the aviation sector, Heathrow said that the government should introduce a two-tier travel system with just a “green” and a “red” list.
Fully vaccinated passengers should face no testing requirements, while those with just a single dose or none at all should be forced to take rapid lateral flow tests, followed up with a PCR test where necessary.
“Ministers must recognise the success of the global vaccination programme and move from a country-based approach to a risk-based one, based on individuals’ vaccination status”, the airport said in a statement.
A review of the travel rules is due in the coming weeks, with reports already emerging that the “green” and “amber” lists could be scrapped.
Having been Europe’s busiest airport in 2019, Heathrow said that it was now lagging behind a host of rivals such as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.
It added that the current system was “delaying the Government’s Global Britain ambitions, handing rivals a competitive advantage while the UK loses market share”.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The Government has the tools to protect the UK’s international competitiveness which will boost the economic recovery and achieve its Global Britain ambitions.
“If Ministers fail to take this opportunity to streamline the travel rules then the UK will fall further behind as trade and tourists will increasingly by-pass the UK.”