After the British airport of Heathrow accumulated losses of 1,6 billion euros in the first nine months of 2020, as a result of the pandemic of Covid-19 and the consequent loss of passengers, the airport of the French capital, Charles de Gaulle became in the busiest in Europe, according to “The Guardian”.
The British airport administration criticizes the Boris Johnson government for "slow progress" in relation to what has been done by its rivals, such as the implementation of tests on arrival for passengers. Heathrow wants the government to implement a mandatory testing measure by the first day of December, as a way to stimulate competitiveness and establish an air bridge with the United States before Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on November 26.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport said, "This is the way we can protect jobs in the UK, as well as protect people from coronavirus." Speaking to “BB” radio, Holland-Kaye adds that “it has to be the right thing to do for this country to help economic recovery. The government has been slow to implement these measures, and must do so by the beginning of December ”.
By the end of September, Paris had received 19,27 million passengers through Charles de Gaulle airport, ahead of Heathrow which received 18,97 million. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport received 17,6 million passengers and Frankfurt reached 16,16 million, according to data provided by Heathrow, to which The Guardian had access.
Heathrow opened the first rapid test office last week for passengers traveling from London to Hong Kong, but the absence of reliable testing facilities for passengers traveling to or from other destinations means that many are subject to quarantine periods in the arrival in the UK or other countries.
Heathrow revenue in the third quarter of the year fell 72% compared to 2019, to 264 million euros, and the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom further reduced the airport's forecasts for passenger numbers. Management expects the airport to receive 22,6 million passengers in 2020 and 37,1 million in 2021, well below the 81 million that traveled in 2019. In June, when the pandemic appeared to be under control in the UK, it was expected 29,2 million passengers in 2020 and 62,8 million in 2021.
Holland-Kaye said that “the UK is lagging behind because we have been too slow to adopt passenger testing. European leaders acted faster and now their economies are reaping the benefits ”.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation responded, saying that “the priority has always been to protect the public and control the risk of new cases being imported from abroad. “The government's global travel force is working with doctors, delegated administrations and the travel industry to develop measures as soon as possible to protect air connectivity and consider how tests can be used to reduce the period of self-isolation” .