Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, has published its April traffic figures which show passenger numbers were down 97%.
The airport moved just 200,000 people in the entire month – the same number it would typically serve in just one day. Many of those passengers were on board the 218 chartered repatriation flights that landed at Heathrow.
A total of 1,788 cargo-only flights operated in April, helping to bring in critical supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). The busiest day was 30 April, with 95 dedicated cargo movements – 14 times the usual daily average pre-Covid-19. Even so, cargo volumes at Britain’s biggest port were down over 60%.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye is leading a campaign to persuade Government that a 14-day lockdown for incoming passengers and offloading aircrew would be detrimental not only to the airport, but also to the country.
He points out that without long-haul passenger flights there will be very limited trade as 40% of UK exports and inward supply chain travels in the cargo holds of passenger planes from Heathrow.
“Aviation is the lifeblood of this country’s economy, and until we get Britain flying again, UK business will be stuck in third gear. The Government needs to urgently lay out a roadmap for how they will reopen borders once the disease has been beaten, and to take an immediate lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for health in aviation that will allow passengers who don’t have the infection to travel freely.”
(See also IATA – worrying statistics in this issue)