Heathrow saw passenger numbers fall by 73 per cent last year as Covid-19 restrictions took a huge toll on the aviation sector.
In total 22 million people passed through the airport. In December, passenger numbers plummeted 83 per cent when compared to 2019, as fears about the new strain of Covid-19 meant countries shut their borders to the UK.
Alongside this, millions of people were forced to cancel Christmas travel plans as restrictions were tightened at the last minute. The approval of the first vaccines in November was perceived to be a turning point for the industry, but the complication of new, more transmittable strains of the virus has led to further groundings.
At one point following the news more than 50 countries had closed their borders to the UK for fear of spreading it. The airport also said that its annual cargo volumes fell 28 per cent as fewer passenger planes meant there was less space available for goods.
Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said, “The past year has been incredibly challenging for aviation. While we support tightening border controls temporarily by introducing pre-departure testing for international arrivals, as well as quarantine, this is not sustainable. The aviation industry is the cornerstone of the UK economy but is fighting for survival. We need a road map out of this lockdown, and a full waiver of business rates.”
Photo Credit: Heathrow