By Edward Thicknesse, cityam.com
The number of passengers passing through Heathrow Airport fell more than four-fifths in March as the worst ever financial year for aviation came to a close.
Passenger numbers fell 82.6 per cent, to 542,000, last month, as the UK continued to impose strict controls on international travel.
For the first three months of 2021, passenger numbers are down 88.5 per cent, at 1.7m. Since the pandemic began sweeping through Europe a year ago, just 9.1m people have used Heathrow, a fall of 88.2 per cent.
With travel bans of varying severities in place with every country in the world, it was the flights to North and Latin America which saw the biggest falls in numbers.
Every country in South America is currently on the UK’s travel red list, meaning visitors from there need to quarantine in a hotel at their own cost upon arrival.
Just 5,000 people flew in from Latin and South America last month, down 93.9 per cent year-on-year. According to the NHS’ latest stats, nearly 10,000 people have now had to quarantine in a hotel.
The numbers were little better from North America, with the US still operating stringent bans despite its impressive vaccination campaign.
Heathrow said that just 52,000 people used the lucrative transatlantic route in March, down 92.9 per cent.
Traveller numbers from the EU and the Middle East were down 84 and 81 per cent respectively.
It is now a little over a month until international leisure travel is due to restart, on 17 May, but last week’s Global Travel Taskforce report suggested that any such loosening of controls would be tightly managed.
Much to the uproar of airlines and travel firms, even those holidaymakers wishing to visit countries on the UK’s “green list” will be faced with taking multiple pricey PCR tests.