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Heathrow calls for end to ‘quarantine roulette’

Heathrow calls for end to ‘quarantine roulette’

A significant passenger decline at London Heathrow has pushed the airport into a financial loss for the second quarter.

Passenger numbers were down over 96 per cent over the period, as global aviation came to a virtual standstill.

Even as borders slowly reopen, the airport predicts passenger numbers will be down by 60 per cent over the course of the year when compared to 2019.

Revenue fell 85 per cent, to £119 million, in the second quarter, while adjusted EBITDA turned to a loss of £93 million.

Heathrow added it had lost £471 million in the first six months of 2020.

Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Today’s results should serve as a clarion call for the government – the UK needs a passenger testing regime and fast.

“Without it, Britain is just playing a game of quarantine roulette.

“As many of our customers have experienced, it is difficult to plan a holiday that way, let alone run a business.

“Testing offers a way to safely open up travel and trade to some of the UK’s biggest markets which currently remain closed.

“Our European competitors are racing ahead with passenger testing, if the UK doesn’t act soon ‘global Britain’ will be nothing more than a campaign slogan.”


Cargo volumes were down over 30 per cent at Heathrow over the past three months, hit by loss of passenger flights.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi have recently unveiled a compulsory testing regime for all passengers passing through airports there.


Calls for a comprehensive testing regime were echoed by the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president, said: ““WTTC is calling upon governments around the world to begin a substantial programme of investment to ensure comprehensive testing facilities are implemented at airports, which will help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and see the return of safe travels.

“It is imperative that all airports, catering for international travel, implement globally recognised testing standards for both inbound and outbound passengers.

“This will provide reassurance to all travellers, maintain ‘air corridors’ between countries, and remove damage and disruption caused by blunt quarantines which massively impact the recovery of the tourism sector.

“Removing the whole of Spain from the UK travel corridors exception list risks causing irreparable damage to the tourism sector.”