London’s Heathrow Airport, which until 2019 was the busiest airport in Europe, has fallen to tenth position on the continent, behind airports such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
Around 2.2 million passengers traveled through Heathrow in August, up from the 1.5 million recorded in July, but down 71% compared to the same month in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, the airport manager, 25% controlled by Spain’s Ferrovial, said in a statement.
Airport officials claim that its continental rivals are “recovering at a much faster rate” and blame the drop in traffic on “constantly changing restrictions” imposed by the British government, EFE reported.
In view of this situation, Heathrow is calling on the British government to relax its travel restrictions to encourage activity to return to pre-health crisis levels.
“Otherwise, the UK will continue to lose business opportunities and face lower levels of foreign tourism, which will impact on employment and slow the recovery of the UK economy,” Heathrow Airport Holdings says.
It also demands that the UK border force devote “adequate resources” to processing the arrival of travelers to avoid the recent scenes of “passengers waiting for hours” upon landing the country, which airport managers consider “totally unacceptable.”
In terms of freight, the volume of cargo passing through Heathrow remains 18% below pre-pandemic levels, while airports such as Frankfurt and Amsterdam have increased by 9%, according to the UK airport’s estimates.
Trade routes between the European Union (EU) and the United States have recovered by about 50% compared to before the health crisis, while levels between the UK and the US remain 92% below.
“The government has the tools it needs to protect the international competitiveness” of the country and succeed in its “ambitions for a global UK,” said the CEO of the firm that manages the airport, John Holland-Kaye.
Plataforma Informativa de Aviación Comercial líder en América Latina.