By Edward Thicknesse | cityam.com
The number of passengers passing through Heathrow Airport remains down almost 90 per cent on pre-pandemic levels despite the recent easing of travel restrictions.
Just 957,000 people used the airport in June, prompting executives to warn that it was lagging behind European rivals such as Charles de Gaulle.
Over the last 12 months, passenger numbers are down 81.7 per cent in total, with flights to North America down the furthest at 92.4 per cent.
In addition, cargo volumes are down 16 per cent at Heathrow compared to 2019, unlike at Schiphol and Frankfurt airports, which have both surpassed their 2019 cargo volumes.
As most air freight is carried in the hold of passenger planes, the continued restrictions on international air travel have hampered this segment of the aviation industry as well.
The figures come after ministers last week announced that from 19 July double-vaccinated Brits would no longer have to quarantine on return from “amber list” countries.
The industry cheered the move in the hope that they might be able to eke something out of a curtailed summer season, with trips to popular holiday destinations like France and Spain now back on the cards.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “While it’s fantastic news that some double-vaccinated passengers will no longer need to quarantine from amber countries, Ministers need to extend this policy to US and EU nationals if they want to kickstart the economic country.
“These changes will be critical for exporters who are losing out to EU rivals and families who have been separated from loved ones. We have all the tools to safely restart international travel, and now is the time for Global Britain to take off!”