Britain’s Heathrow Airport reported that passenger numbers surged during July as the government eased travel restrictions and recovery was underway. However, it warned that overall numbers were still down 80% compared on pre-pandemic levels due to the presence of many barriers.
Heathrow reported that in July, over 1.5 million passengers passed through the airport, making it the busiest month since March 2020, just before the COVID-19 lockdowns began in Europe and most travel was halted.
The busiest airport in Britain, and the busiest airport in Europe before COVID-19, said that the government must act more urgently to help travel levels return to almost like they were in 2019.
Despite its aggressive vaccine roll-out, Heathrow and airlines like British Airways (ICAG.L) have criticized Britain for its slow easing of travel restrictions and complicated rules, including the costly Coronavirus test.
It is their desire that the cost of testing be reduced and that more countries be added to the government’s list of low-risk countries. Heathrow called on the United States and Britain to reach an agreement to allow Britons to travel to the United States.
Fully vaccinated Britons were allowed to travel to medium-risk countries without having to undergo quarantine upon return last month, which increased passenger numbers by 74% over July last year.
Britain has opened its borders to people who are fully vaccinated from the United States and Europe since early August.
Heathrow said the U.S. carrier JetBlue will operate flights between London and New York this week in a signal of improving confidence.