Just 1.3m passengers travelled through Heathrow Airport in September, down 82 per cent on the same month last year, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer aviation.
With blanket quarantine restrictions limiting long-haul travel, over half the passengers came from destinations in the EU, the figures showed.
However, since the government laid out its travel corridors policy in July, the majority of mainland Europe has been put back under restrictions.
The figures came just days after the government launched its new Global Travel Taskforce to investigate how to implement an airport testing regime to get travel moving again.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said that the body needed to “act quickly to save the millions of UK jobs that rely on aviation”.
“Implementing “test and release” after 5 days of quarantine would kickstart the economy”, he added.
“But the government could show real leadership by working with the US to develop a Common International Standard for pre-departure testing that would mean that only Covid-free passengers are allowed to travel from high risk countries.”
The government should put such a system in place by the beginning of November, Heathrow added.
This morning the boss of London City Airport also joined in with calls to implement airport testing, saying it would be a “shot in the arm” for the UK’s economy.
The lack of such a regime is one of the reasons why profitable long-haul routes such as London-New York remain closed.
According to the figures, just 84,000 people passed through the airport from North America in September, down 94 per cent from the 3.5m the year before.
York Aviation, a travel consultancy, said that the UK economy was losing £32m a day due to the lack of air travel to the US.