Heathrow feels effects of eased travel restrictions

The London hub saw its highest intake of passengers last month since March 2020, however it says there is still a long way to go 

London Heathrow has reported that due to the easing of travel restrictions in July, there was a 74% upsurge in passenger traffic compared to the same time last year.  

As consumer confidence continues to accelerate, more than 1.5 million travellers passed through the hub last month – the highest monthly count since March 2020.  

Heathrow Airport
Photo London Heathrow Airport

North American passenger numbers have grown by nearly 230% year-on-year, with New York/JFK claiming back its top spot as Heathrow’s most popular route.  

The London hub is expanding its transatlantic network by introducing JetBlue to its site later this week. The base believes that the UK and US travel taskforce must now work together to capitalise on the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to reach a universal agreement for fully vaccinated travellers.  

Although recovery is looking promising, passenger numbers are still down by more than 80% compared to pre-pandemic levels.  

Ministers stated that they would reduce testing costs for travellers over three months ago, however the airport says this still hasn’t happened. The industry is calling for cheaper lateral flow tests to be used for low-risk destinations.  

“Finally, some blue skies are on the horizon, as travel and trade routes slowly reopen,” said Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow chief operating officer. “The job though is far from complete. 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.” 

The airport also believe that severed trade links need to be restored as soon as possible, especially with routes to Canada and Singapore.