Heathrow has lost its position as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle.
The company that owns and operates Heathrow said in a statement this morning that passenger numbers were now expected to be only 22.6 million this year and 37.1 million next year, down from forecasts in June of 29.2 million and 62.8 million. In 2019 a total of 81 million passengers travelled through the airport.
Heathrow hosted 18.97 million passengers in the year to the end of September, compared with 19.27 million for Charles de Gaulle. Amsterdam Schiphol had 17.6 million passengers and Frankfurt had 16.16 million.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, blamed the airport’s problems on the government.
“Britain is falling behind because we’ve been too slow to embrace passenger testing,” he said. “European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits. Paris has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport for the first time ever, and Frankfurt and Amsterdam are quickly gaining ground.
“Let’s make Britain a winner again. Bringing in pre-departure Covid tests and partnering with our US allies to open a pilot airbridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals.”