Heathrow boss calls on government to scrap 14-day quarantine and instead test travellers from high risk countries as figures show passenger numbers were 89% down in July
- Around 867,000 passengers travelled through Heathrow Airport last month
- In July 2019 the West London airport was used by more than 7.7m passengers
- Airport boss says thousands of jobs are lost as people are ‘cut off’ from markets #
- Virgin Atlantic resumed flights from the hub to US and Hong Kong last month
Heathrow’s boss has called on the government to scrap its 14-day quarantine and instead focus on testing travellers from high risk countries after passenger numbers plummeted by 89 per cent last month.
Just 867,000 people travelling through the west London airport last month, compared with 7.7million in July 2019.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost because Britain remains cut off from critical markets such as the US, Canada and Singapore.
‘The Government can save jobs by introducing testing to cut quarantine from higher-risk countries, while keeping the public safe from a second wave of Covid.’
The number of passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport last month fell by nearly 7million compared to July 2019
Despite airlines such as Virgin Atlantic starting to resume services to New York, LA and Hong Kong last month, Heathrow said 60 per cent of its route network remains grounded.
More than half of the passengers who used Heathrow in July were visiting European destinations, which mostly do not require people to go into quarantine on arrival.
Bosses at the transport hub claimed the Government’s quarantine policy is ‘preventing the UK from travelling to and trading,’ with countries such as the US, Singapore and Canada.
Passengers who did use Heathrow last month reported scenes of ‘chaos,’ with little room for social distancing.
Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye, pictured in 2015, is calling on the government to cut its 14-day quarantine programme for arrivals from the likes of US, Singapore and Canada
Footage posted on Twitter shows throngs of people standing close to each other and wearing face masks while waiting in a long line at the airport’s Terminal 2.
The video was captioned: ‘Heathrow Airport T2 entry has no social distancing… long queue with people bumping into each other, no system in place and where are your staff managing this?’
There were reports of packed queues at Terminal 5 as well, but bosses blamed passengers arriving for flights too early.
Mr Holland-Kaye has previously said social distancing will not work at airports due to the ‘lack of space’.
In May, he wrote in The Telegraph: ‘Forget social distancing – it won’t work in aviation or any other form of public transport, and the problem is not the plane, it is the lack of space in the airport.
‘Just one jumbo jet would require a queue a kilometre long.’
The latest monthly data reflects a slight uplift in passenger traffic since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Demand was down 95% year-on-year during June – the month when the government quarantine programme began.
Since then air bridges have reopened to allow travel to most European destinations – although the likes of Spain have since been been removed from the goverrnment’s list of travel corridors.
Which destinations are on the UK’s quarantine-free travel list?
You may not have to self-isolate if you are travelling from one of the countries or territories listed below.
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Antigua and Barbuda
Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
the Channel Islands
Estonia (added 28 July)
the Isle of Man
Latvia (added 28 July)
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Slovakia (added 28 July)
Slovenia (added 28 July)
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
St Kitts and Nevis
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines (added 28 July)
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
Vatican City State
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