Covid-19: Heathrow Airport seeks prompt approval for passenger testing

12 November 2020 (Last Updated November 12th, 2020 10:24)

Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye has said that the aviation industry requires approval from the UK Government for passenger testing as soon as possible.

Covid-19: Heathrow Airport seeks prompt approval for passenger testing
Heathrow’s control tower with a departing aircraft. Credit: Maarten Visser.

Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye has said that the aviation industry requires approval from the UK Government for passenger testing as soon as possible.

This would provide time for the industry to prepare for the Covid-19 testing system when the ongoing second UK lockdown ends next month, Reuters reported, quoting Holland-Kaye.

The current testing on arrival system does not allow passengers to reduce the restrictive 14-day quarantine.

Last month, the UK formed a task force to explore ways of implementing a Covid-19 testing regime for international travellers arriving in the country. The recommendations are expected to be submitted this month.

Several industry stakeholders, including airlines, airports and global entities, have called on governments to implement a universal testing system as an alternative to quarantine measures.

This is expected to help in increasing travel demand and will support the recovery of the sector.

Separately, Heathrow reported an 82% decline in passenger traffic in October on a year-on-year basis. This is the airport’s eighth consecutive monthly decline following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Passenger numbers are likely to fall further in November due to the current travel ban.

Holland-Kaye stated: “Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, critical for exports of goods and services and imports of vaccines, as well as inbound tourism, students and foreign direct investment.

“Lack of government action is weakening our sector, making it harder for us to support the eventual economic recovery and help deliver the Prime Minister’s vision of a global Britain.”

Last month, Paris Charles de Gaulle replaced Heathrow as the busiest airport in Europe.