By Tony Winterburn • 11 December 2020 • 9:30
Heathrow Airport reports passenger numbers down 88% compared to last year.
Heathrow Airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye has revealed that passenger levels at Heathrow were down 88% on the previous year in November. Mr Holland-Kaye said: “We had around one million passengers in November – usually we would have seven million.”
He said the fall in passengers is also affecting cargo – as a significant amount of it is transported on passenger planes. “Aviation provides our long-distance trading networks. So until we can get flying again, we’re holding back trade.” Heathrow also warned that the refusal to offer English and Welsh airports business rates relief “runs the risk of worsening an already challenging situation”.
Earlier this summer, Heathrow had forecast that it would have 29.2 million passengers in 2020, but this is now down to 22.6 million. It added that plans to end VAT-free shopping at airports “threatens to kick our industry when it’s down”. Manchester Airports Group – which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands Airports – reported an 84% drop in passenger numbers in October. Heathrow Airport had recently announced a pre-departure covid testing trial in the hope of encouraging passengers to continue flying.
It called for “an urgent package of support” from the Government for the UK aviation industry, including relief from business rates, policing costs and other fixed-cost pressures. The airport lost its crown recently as Europe’s busiest airport, having been overtaken in passenger numbers by Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
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