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.”