London Heathrow loses its ‘Busiest Airport’ Status to Paris

The Heathrow Airport has reported a fall of 84% in the number of passengers passing through the airport in 3 months to September.

Heathrow Airport
Busiest Airport of the World. Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kambe/8509815646

London’s Heathrow, which has been declared as the busiest airport since after WWII, has now lost its status to France amid the pandemic.

Paris’s Charles de Gaulle has now overtaken that position, as it received 19.7 million passengers in the year 2020, until September, leaving behind Heathrow that received 18.97m passengers passing through the airport. Also, other Airports like Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Germany’s Frankfurt are close behind Heathrow as they received 17.6m and 16.16m, respectively, as told by the Heathrow Airport officials.

Heathrow Airport has reported huge losses of £1.5bn due to the pandemic, which deterred air travel. The Airport has attributed the falling numbers of passengers to the absence of ‘reliable testing regimes’, which its competitors have implemented. These ‘rapid testing regimes’ are in practice by Paris’s Airport and its other European rivals, which prevent the passengers from a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival or reduction of quarantine time.

Also Read: Passengers ‘Strip Searched’ After Baby Found At Doha Airport

Heathrow Airport, London
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26284978@N02/2682320046/

Only last week, Heathrow Airport opened its first rapid testing facility for flights from London to Hong Kong, while there’s no such regime for other destinations which make the passengers reluctant to travel through, fearing quarantine periods on arrival in the UK or other countries from the UK. The airport has pre-departure testing, but only for the destinations which have made it mandatory.

Heathrow Airport seeks ‘from Government till December

Heathrow’s Chief Executive’ Holland-Kaye’ reportedly told BBC, “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.” He mentioned that countries like France, Germany, Canada, and Ireland had implemented proactive testing measures at airports, and he appealed to the UK Government to come into action regarding the same. He said this is the only way to save the aviation industry in the UK, which is already in losses, as well as to protect the jobs of people in Britain while also protecting from coronavirus. He also warned that there is an urgency to consider expanding the Heathrow Airport with a third runway to aid in boosting British Economy. This will help connect to faster-growing economies like China and India. “If we don’t, we will be flying through Paris to get to global markets,” he said.

British Airways
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynothehammer/

Heathrow has also asked for a commitment from the government to enable ‘post-arrivals’ testing in the UK by December 1, 2020. It has also called upon the government to create a “pilot air bridge” with the US to ensure direct travel by Thanksgiving.

Heathrow Airport expects less than 25% of footfall in 2020

Heathrow was the busiest airport in the whole world before Dubai overtook that place in 2014. Before the pandemic started, Heathrow Airport was the biggest and busiest airport in Europe. However, the aviation officials at the airport are now blaming the ministers for a slow response in decking up testing regimes, which have resulted in huge financial losses for the airport. After cutting almost 500 jobs in the Airport due to the pandemic, Heathrow Airport has projected that around 22.6m may be traveling through the airport in 2020 compared to the abundant 81m that traveled in 2019. In 2021, the Airport is expected to witness nearly 37.1m, given the current statistics and uncertainty over the coronavirus situation.

About NITI SHARMA

I write stories & news based on Politics, Religion, Health & Lifestyle, Culture, and Technology & Science. I aim to update my readers with the latest news in and around the globe and also familiarize them with the ancient facts and mysteries that surround us. I also love to read, travel, and spend time with my kids.

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