Heathrow passenger numbers up 48% in August - highest since pandemic

EMBARGOED TO 0001 SATURDAY AUGUST 21 File photo dated 18/01/21 of a passenger pushing luggage through the Arrival Hall of Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport. Holidaymakers have been subjected to 50 changes in the rules for international travel since the first coronavirus lockdown, according to new analysis by PA Media. A similar number of changes have occurred in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the devolved administrations have largely mirrored England's rules. Issue date: Saturday August 21, 2021.

Heathrow has announced it recorded a 48% increase in passenger numbers in August compared with the previous month.

Some 2.2 million passengers travelled through the west London airport in August, up from 1.5 million in July.

This is the highest monthly passenger total of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the rise, the airport noted that demand is still down 71% compared with before the virus crisis. In August 2019, passenger numbers reached 7.7 million.

Heathrow urged the Government to “streamline” the rules for international travel as it warned it has gone from being Europe’s busiest airport in 2019 to number 10 on the list, behind rivals in cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.

It wants the amber list to be scrapped, and a two-tier system introduced.

Under the airport’s proposals, fully vaccinated arrivals from green list locations would no longer be required to take a test, whereas those who are not fully vaccinated would need to take lateral flow tests pre-departure and post-arrival.

Only those who test positive would need to take a more expensive PCR test.

Hotel quarantine would be retained for arrivals from high-risk red list countries.

The Telegraph reported that the Government is preparing to overhaul its traffic light system.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The Government has the tools to protect the UK’s international competitiveness which will boost the economic recovery and achieve its ‘global Britain’ ambitions.

“If ministers fail to take this opportunity to streamline the travel rules then the UK will fall further behind as trade and tourists will increasingly bypass the UK.”