Heathrow loses crown as Europe’s busiest airport and reports £1.5billion loss

Heathrow Airport says that it has lost its crown as Europe’s busiest airport, having been overtaken in passenger numbers by Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Approximately 19 million passengers used Heathrow in the first nine months of the year, but it’s estimated that Charles de Gaulle had approximately 19.3 million passengers.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt airports are close behind.

Earlier this summer, Heathrow had forecast that it would have 29.2 million passengers in 2020, but this is now down to 22.6 million.

However between July and September, passenger numbers remained down by 84% in comparison to last year.

The airport has also reported a loss of £1.5billion in the first nine months of 2020.

Passengers arriving at Terminal 2 in Heathrow Airport
Passengers arriving at Terminal 2 in Heathrow Airport

In a statement from the airport, the fall in numbers was blamed on both the second wave of coronavirus in the UK, as well as ‘slow progress’ on testing being introduced for arrivals.

The airport also added that the UK government has announced an intention to introduce testing for passengers from high risk countries by the 1st December 2020.

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye said that the UK had been ‘too slow to embrace passenger testing’, and that other European counterparts had been quicker which meant that ‘their economies are reaping the benefits’.

Airplanes on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
Airplanes on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

New rapid one-hour Covid-19 tests were trialled at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 earlier in October, on board flights between Hong Kong and London.

The private tests cost £80 per passenger and aim to give a result within one hour, before travellers board their flight.

Those who want to make use of the tests will need to pre-book a slot online before they travel to the airport.

  • If you are planning to travel abroad you should check the latest FCDO advice which will include key information from quarantine rules to any entry requirements – such as proof of a negative Covid-19 test – which you will need to be aware of.


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