Heathrow Airport has released its latest numbers – with the headline figure of traffic being down 88% compared to the previous year
Over 860,000 passengers travelled through Heathrow in July, an increase on May – driven by Her Majesties Government’s creation of the first ‘travel corridors’ on July 4th.
In terms of splits over 480,000 (over half) went to European destinations (and also avoiding quarantine)
Over 88,000 metric tonnes of cargo moved through the airport, with the mix of cargo slowly shifting from pure freighter aircraft to belly-hold cargo.
In terms of network, 60% of the Heathrow network pre-COVID remains unserved. The airport argues that the 14-day quarantine on arrival, preventing the UK from travelling to and trading with these countries.
The airport also adds that starting COVID-19 testing at the airport could safely open up these routes and kickstart the UK’s economic recovery.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow said:
“The government can save jobs by introducing testing to cut quarantine from higher risk countries, while keeping the public safe from a second wave of COVID.“
“Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost because Britain remains cut off from critical markets such as the US, Canada and Singapore. The government can save jobs by introducing testing to cut quarantine from higher risk countries, while keeping the public safe from a second wave of COVID.“
Commercial Reality vs Quarantine Reality
One way that could be used to open up the network is simple -and it’s one that other counties have used: Test, Test, Test.
That could mean
- Testing for COVID before departure
- Having appropriate technologies to test at the airport (testing areas, as well as using temperature sensing)
- Having completed and valid Health Declarations
- COVID Test on arrival, with an initial quarantine near the airport, with a negative test allowing people to continue and a positive test requiring further quarantine.
That’s a lot to consider and would require government assistance (and will) to complete that.
As well as the costs – which would have to be borne somewhere along the line.
There is a very fine line that is being walked (with no thanks to quarantine-on-arrival being put in so late in the United Kingdom) and for some countries, a case could be made.
Until a test on arrival programme is established, for now –it seems the government is happy to quarantine-on-arrival.
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