Heathrow’s boss warns Covid quarantine restrictions are ‘strangling the economy’ as passenger numbers plunged more than 80% last month
Heathrow’s boss has warned Covid quarantine restrictions are ‘strangling the economy’ as passenger numbers plunged more than 80 per cent last month.
John Holland-Kaye accused the Government of playing ‘quarantine roulette’ and blamed the introduction of restrictions at short notice for wiping out this year’s summer holidays.
The hard-hitting intervention came as Britain’s biggest airport revealed the dwindling numbers of passengers at what would normally be the height of the summer holiday season.
Up in the air: Some 1.4m travelled via Heathrow last month, 6.3m fewer than in August last year
Some 1.4m travelled via Heathrow last month, 6.3m fewer than in August last year. North American passenger numbers were down more than 95 per cent compared with last year, with the US remaining on Britain’s travel ‘red’ list because of its high Covid infection rate.
Heathrow – the UK’s biggest port – also said the amount of cargo carried in and out dropped more than a third (34.2 per cent) to 88 tonnes.
Holland-Kaye has been one of the most strident supporters of the Mail’s Get Britain Flying Again campaign to introduce Covid testing at airports. The Government has said it is looking at options to reduce quarantine for those who test negative for Covid-19.
But the Heathrow boss warned ‘every day of further Government delay costs British jobs and livelihoods’.
He said: ‘Britain’s economic recovery is falling behind. Heathrow’s traffic figures for August demonstrate the extent to which quarantine is strangling the economy.’ The decision to return Portugal to the quarantine list on Thursday left tens of thousands of holidaymakers scrambling to escape the country before restrictions were imposed at 4am today.
Speaking to the Mail, HollandKaye said the summer holiday getaway that most airports and airlines rely on has been ‘completely blown up by the quarantine roulette that has happened’.
‘This really is a disaster for UK aviation,’ he said.