Heathrow passenger traffic 90% below pandemic levels

11 June 2021

(Sharecast News) - Heathrow passenger numbers are languishing at 90% below pre-pandemic levels, Britain's biggest airport said on Friday as managers fired a broadside at government ministers over the so-called "green" travel list.
Just 675,000 people travelled through airport in May, compared with 6.7m in the same month of 2019. The company criticised "ministers' refusal to provide transparency" on the data behind decisions on the green travel list - countries from which people can return without having to quarantine.

"One month after government hailed the restart of international travel and assured the public that a risk-based traffic light system would unlock low-risk travel, the system has yet to achieve what it was designed to do," it said in a statement.

It urged the government to "rely on the science and restart travel to low-risk countries like the US" at the next review later this month.

"With ministers now promising to prioritise the domestic unlock and no clear end date to travel restrictions, a bespoke support plan for the beleaguered and neglected travel industry must be forthcoming."

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said G7 leaders meeting in Cornwall today should agree "how to resume international travel safely and setting a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) that will decarbonise aviation".

SAFs are produced using materials other than crude oil, and produces around 70% less carbon emissions -although more expensive than traditional fuel.

Heathrow took its first delivery of SAF last week, but stated that "the right government policies" are needed to build confidence in demand.

It wants world leaders at the G7 to commit to requiring 10% SAF use by 2030, growing to at least 50% by 2050, with incentives similar to those used to kick-start other low-carbon projects.