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Heathrow passenger numbers plunge 73%

Passenger numbers at Heathrow airport have plunged 75% in 2020, down to 22.1m.

The number of people passing through the airport last year was 85m fewer than in 2019.

In October, Heathrow was no longer deemed Europe’s largest airport and the drop in passengers led to Charles de Gaulle in Paris taking the title.

The pandemic has led to a sharp drop in passengers in 2020 and despite fewer restrictions in December, the number of people travelling through the airport was still down 83% to 1.1m.

Recent rules introduces means that passengers arriving in the UK are having to provide a negative Coronavirus test. Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye commented: “While we support tightening border controls temporarily by introducing pre-departure testing for international arrivals, as well as quarantine, this is not sustainable.”

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“The aviation industry is the cornerstone of the UK economy but is fighting for survival.  We need a road map out of this lockdown, and a full waiver of business rates. 

“This is an opportunity for the government to show leadership in creating a Common International Standard for pre-departure testing that will allow travel and trade to restart safely so that we can start to deliver the Prime Minister’s vision of a Global Britain,” he added.

The airport has introduced rapid Covid tests. Tests available at the airport will cost £80 and results will be made available within the hour and will be offered by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific.

“Many other countries are already using testing to keep their borders safe while restarting trade and travel,” said Holland-Kaye. “These facilities will make it easier for passengers going to those countries to get a test and have the potential to provide a service for arriving passengers,” he added.

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