The blunt summation of the impact of Covid-19 on Heathrow Airport’s operations can be illustrated by the fact that it has gone from being the busiest airport in the world (pre-pandemic) to now being just the 10th busiest, all within the space of 18 months. A significant factor in this decline, is due to the rigorous (and for many unaffordable cost) of Covid-19 PCR Tests required for foreign travel to and from the UK. As such, these policies risk putting thousands of Heathrow and other UK airport jobs at risk, whilst also allowing Heathrow’s competitors to overtake them as the leading airports for travel in the world.
Consequences of The Furlough Scheme Ending
Of further significance, is the fact that the UK’s furlough scheme (whereby the government pays a percentage of an employee’s salary as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on businesses) is coming to an end on 30th September 2021. This has drawn immediate concerns from the CEO of Britain’s Travel Association, Mark Tanzer, who believes this could result in more than 65% of UK travel companies making their staff redundant. He said, “The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery. A diminished holiday industry is a diminished aviation industry with fewer routes and fewer flights. That’s not how you achieve a global Britain.”
UK Aviation Industry Not Realising Benefits Of Vaccination Rollout
Travellers who are fully vaccinated are not exempt from being subjected to PCR Tests before entering the UK and indeed after they arrive in the UK. As such, Heathrow has witnessed a decrease of 71% in its passenger volume compared to the same month in 2019. Furthermore, Heathrow witnessed a 90% reduction in passenger volume during the first six months of 2021 (3.9 million passengers), compared to the same period in 2019.
So what do you think about this future of Heathrow and Britain’s aviation industry? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @thetravelradar.