‘Blue skies are on the horizon’ for London Heathrow as travel restrictions ease
Since the relaxation of travel restrictions in the UK, Heathrow reports that it has experienced its busiest month since March 2020, with over 1.5 million travelling passengers passing through in July 2021.
Since the relaxation of travel restrictions in the UK, Heathrow experienced its busiest month since March 2020, with over 1.5 million travelling passengers passing through in July 2021.
With a 74 per cent increase in travelling passengers compared with July 2020, the relaxation in rules has provided a much-needed boost to the UK travel industry, and enabled the public to look forward to a more normal summer; reuniting with family and friends abroad.
Among the growing numbers of passengers returning to airports, North American passenger numbers grew by nearly 230 per cent (YoY). and subsequently, New York JFK reclaimed the leading spot as Heathrow’s most popular route. During August 2021, Heathrow is set to further increase its transatlantic offering, as it welcomes American carrier jetBlue. The fully vaccinated US visitors will now be able to travel to the UK without the need to quarantine, the joint UK and US travel taskforce is yet to finalise a reciprocal agreement for fully vaccinated UK travellers.
Despite signs of recovery, passenger numbers are still down by over 80 per cent in comparison to pre-pandemic July 2019, as barriers to travel remain. UK Ministers were committed to reducing testing costs, however, the UK still stands as an outlier with Europe and in some cases, subsiding prices. Meanwhile, the cost of testing in the UK remains prohibitive, this runs the risk of limiting passengers due to the added expense to travel. As a result, the travel industry inquiries for VAT to be diminished alongside the use of cheaper lateral flow tests for low-risk destinations.
“Finally, some blue skies are on the horizon, as travel and trade routes slowly reopen. The job, though, is far from complete,” said Emma Gilthorpe, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow.
“The government must now capitalise on the vaccine dividend and seize the opportunity to replace expensive PCR tests with more affordable lateral flow tests. This will ensure travel remains attainable for hardworking Brits, desperate for well-earned getaways and keen to reunite with loved ones before the summer travel window closes.”
At the 2021 Skytrax World Airport Awards, Heathrow achieved ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’, secured ‘World’s Best Airport in 20-25 million passenger category’ and is the only UK airport to attain the 2021 COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award. This award recognises the stringent health, hygiene and safety protocols practiced by airports during COVID-19.
As the global vaccine rollout continues to reach milestones whilst maintaining low infection rates, the reopening of severed vital trading links such as Canada and Singapore is critical for British business.