Air arrivals down 87% on pre-Covid levels

Air travel to the UK continues to be severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Just 1.4 million airline passengers arrived in the country last month, according to Home Office data.

That was up 14% on the figure of 1.3 million in July 2020, but 87% lower than the 11.2 million arrivals during the same month in 2019.

Some 54% of arrivals last month were British nationals.

The total number of arrivals between April 2020 and July 2021 was 90% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The travel sector has been badly hit by the fall in demand, with thousands of jobs lost.

It has urged the Government to ease and simplify quarantine and testing requirements for arriving travellers.

Rob Griggs, policy and public affairs director at Airlines UK, which represents UK-based carriers, said: “These stats are a stark reminder that, for the UK’s airlines, this crisis remains at its height, with recovery hindered by a complex set of travel rules, excessive testing costs and too much uncertainty.

“Nightclubs have reopened. There is no reason why fully vaccinated travellers or those coming to the UK from low-risk countries should still be facing the level of costs and restrictions they are.

“Some 58% of air transport jobs remain furloughed – the highest of any sector – even as this critical support ends next month.

“Unless and until things change, airlines will need ongoing economic support over the winter to safeguard thousands of skilled, good jobs across the country.”

The latest update to the green, amber and red travel lists is expected to be announced on Thursday.