Heathrow loses its position as Europe’s busiest airport to Frankfurt. As summer travel was rebounding more quickly at the German hub it became the busiest airport.
However, at Heathrow, only 1.42 million people passed in August, down 81.5 percent as compared to last year. Whereas there were about 1.51 million people that passed through the security checks of German airports, the latest figures show.
This has happened for the first time in 70 years that Heathrow is not at the top of Europe’s aviation league table.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye believes that this is because the Government is not approving testing of arriving passengers for coronavirus. That will allow the travels not to quarantine on arrival if tested negative. However, this is also damaging the British economy.
He said, “They have testing in Germany and Frankfurt has been able to recover much more strongly. It’s not necessarily a permanent change but it will be if we don’t do something to save aviation.” Mr. Holland-Kaye said that Heathrow was “not viable” at the current level of traffic.
The airport has facilities ready to use for testing 14,000 passengers a day. There are currently 20,000 passengers arriving daily, about half of whom do not need to quarantine for 14 days.
The Country’s GDP
Meanwhile, official data shows that there was an increase in the UK’s GDP by 6.6 percent in July. This was the time when the country was easing some of its restrictions and pubs and restaurants were open to the public. However, the output is still 11.7 percent below where it was in February before the start of the lockdown that sent the British economy into the deepest recession for a century.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “Many people are rightly worried about the coming months or have already had their job or incomes affected. That’s why we’ve outlined a comprehensive Plan for Jobs to ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity.”
The GDP rise was slightly weaker than they were hoping for in the City.
Thomas Pugh, the UK economist at Capital Economics, said, ”July was probably the last of the big step-up in activity. And a full recovery probably won’t be achieved until early 2022. Now that most sectors are up and running again there is little scope for further large rises in monthly GDP.”
“On top of that talk of tax rises at the next Budget, a further deterioration in the Brexit negotiations and a worrying rise in the number of virus cases and tighter social distancing restrictions will all conspire to slow the recovery even further.”
Mel Stride, chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, called for a targeted extension of the furlough scheme.