Quarantine rule hits demand for Heathrow

Heathrow saw arriving passenger numbers hit “immediately” after the Government’s quarantine policy came into force, the airport said.

The proportion of seats filled – known as the load factor – on inbound flights dropped by seven percentage points when the 14-day self-isolation requirement was introduced on June 8.

Just 350,000 people travelled through the airport last month, down 95% on June 2019.

Routes to and from North America and Africa saw the biggest declines.

Across all destinations, the number of flights was down 82% as demand for travel remained low due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Total passenger numbers for the first half of the year were 60% down on the same period in 2019.

The quarantine requirement was lifted for people returning to or visiting the UK from around 75 countries and territories on Friday.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Travel corridors were a great first step and now we need to go further to protect jobs and kick-start the economy, by allowing healthy passengers to travel freely between the UK and the rest of the world.

“We’re ready to pilot a testing system on arrival for passengers from ‘red’ countries as an alternative to quarantine, but even better would be to test passengers before they get on a plane.

“This requires a common international standard for testing, which the UK Government could take a global lead in setting up.”

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