John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO, again attacked the Government’s lack of support for the aviation sector when announcing the airport’s October results.

On a year-to-year basis Heathrow’s traffic was down 82% – the eighth consecutive month of catastrophic decline, with the current travel ban, November is likely to be even worse.

“Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, critical for exports of goods and services and imports of vaccines, as well as inbound tourism, students and foreign direct investment. Lack of Government action is weakening our sector, making it harder for us to support the eventual economic recovery and help deliver the Prime Minister’s vision of a global Britain,” he said.  

In a strong statement the airport emphasised that long-haul and critical markets for trade suffered the worst declines due to the Government’s debilitating quarantine requirements. The airport’s overall cargo volumes were down 23% compared to last year. North America, the UK’s biggest export market has been hardest hit by the downturn.

UK’s aviation industry is essential to the supply chain of temperature-sensitive, time-critical goods like vaccines – 41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical supplies are imported via Heathrow alone.

Mr Holland-Kaye summed up.  “The lack of a testing regime has left British airports unable to compete with EU rivals, the refusal to offer English and Welsh airports business rates relief runs the risk of worsening an already challenging situation and the plans to end VAT-free shopping threaten to kick our industry when it is down.”