Omicron brings huge drop in Heathrow passenger numbers

Heathrow Covid testing

The full impact of the Omicron variant on the aviation industry is laid bare as new figures from Heathrow reveal a huge drop in paassenger numbers.

At least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from the airport in December because of the Covid variant and the resulting government restrictions. This high-lights an appalling year for Britain’s main gateway airport which had only 19.4 passenger movements, less than a quarter of 2019.

The airport management is urging the UK government to remove all testing for fully vaccinated passengers and adopt a “playbook” for future variants of concern that is more predictable, limits additional measures only to passengers from high-risk destinations and allows quarantine at home instead of a hotel.

“There are currently travel restrictions, such as testing, on all Heathrow routes” said the airport CEO John Holland-Kaye.

“the aviation industry will only fully recover when these are all lifted and there is no risk that they will be reimposed at short notice, a situation which is likely to be years away. While this creates enormous uncertainty for the CAA in setting a new 5 year regulatory settlement, it means the regulator must focus on an outcome that improves service, incentivises growth and maintains affordable private financing.”