Heathrow Terminal 5
Image Source: Curt Smith
Chloe Shakesby

Heathrow loses title of Europe's biggest airport as Britain "too slow" to embrace passenger testing

Heathrow has announced this morning that it is no longer Europe’s biggest airport.

The travel hub reported today that its passenger numbers are now forecast to be 22.6m in 2020 and 37.1m in 2021, compared to its June forecast of 29.2m in 2020 and 62.8m in 2021, and 2019 actuals of 81m.

It said that the reduction is partially due to slow progress by the UK government on introducing Covd-19 testing regimes, and said that Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has now overtaken it.

Heathrow’s losses in the first three quarters of the year have deepened to £1.5bn as passenger numbers remained down by more than 84 per cent.

Revenue in the third quarter also fell by 72 per cent to £239m, and Q3 adjusted EBITDA fell to £37m.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s CEO, commented: “Britain is falling behind because we’ve been too slow to embrace passenger testing.

“European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits.

“Paris has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport for the first time ever, and Frankfurt and Amsterdam are quickly gaining ground.

“Let’s make Britain a winner again. Bringing in pre-departure COVID tests and partnering with our US allies to open a pilot airbridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals.”

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