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Heathrow: Expansion of list of countries expected to be open for summer needed

Heathrow: Expansion of list of countries expected to be open for summer needed
Heathrow: Expansion of list of countries expected to be open for summer needed
Written by Harry Johnson

Reopening critical trading routes such as the United States will enable exporters to reconnect with key global networks and unlock billions of pounds worth of trade and exports.

  • Heathrow welcomes government plans to automate border checks
  • Government should publish a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer
  • Heathrow lost 6.2 million passengers in April

Heathrow lost 6.2 million passengers in April, down 92.1%, compared to pre-pandemic 2019 figures, following over a year of restrictions on non-essential travel.

Whilst Heathrow welcomes the lifting of the travel ban from May 17, the green list is overly cautious, given the other controls in place on passengers travelling from low risk countries. The next review in 3 weeks’ time should bring a significant expansion to the list of “green” countries, including the United States, to increase trade, reunite friends and families with their loved ones. Government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last minute bookings.

The rapid progress on vaccination and increased confidence in its effectiveness against variants of concern should allow a significant simplification of the “traffic light” system at the end of June, including allowing fully vaccinated people to travel without restrictions.

Heathrow welcomes government plans to automate border checks, but until they have been implemented, Ministers should ensure that every desk is staffed at peak times to avoid unacceptable queue times in immigration. 

Fewer passenger flights are severely impacting the UK’s supply chain and British exporters, with only 116,000 metric tons of cargo travelled through Heathrow last month, compared to over 132,000 in April 2019, down 12%. Reopening critical trading routes such as the United States will enable exporters to reconnect with key global networks and unlock billions of pounds worth of trade and exports.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “The Government’s green list is very welcome, but they need to expand it massively in the next few weeks to include other low risk markets such as the United States, and remove the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take two expensive PCR tests.  Border Force’s claims that “long queues in immigration are inevitable” smack of complacency – they are completely avoidable if Ministers ensure that all desks are staffed at peak times.”

Traffic Summary
April 2021
Terminal Passengers
(000s)
Apr 2021% ChangeJan to
Apr 2021
% ChangeMay 2020 to
Apr 2021
% Change
Market
UK62541.7228-75.3764-82.2
EU173158.8618-86.74,021-83.2
Non-EU Europe54628.7180-83.4876-82.4
Africa54681.9245-69.1601-80.7
North America63132.6244-92.5862-94.8
Latin America652.827-91.3148-88.0
Middle East370.4292-82.31,100-84.2
Asia / Pacific8782.6382-82.61,098-88.9
Total536159.82,216-85.19,472-86.7
Air Transport MovementsApr 2021% ChangeJan to
Apr 2021
% ChangeMay 2020 to
Apr 2021
% Change
Market
UK773215.52,893-68.18,993-76.1
EU2,53767.28,672-79.947,851-74.2
Non-EU Europe638211.22,215-77.39,389-75.8
Africa551344.42,298-36.76,124-55.1
North America2,46995.58,775-53.224,730-67.4
Latin America97169.4417-70.91,944-64.1
Middle East1,08689.24,498-40.113,625-51.6
Asia / Pacific1,72290.56,887-34.720,891-50.4
Total9,873103.336,655-64.7133,547-68.7
Cargo
(Metric Tons)
Apr 2021% ChangeJan to
Apr 2021
% ChangeMay 2020 to
Apr 2021
% Change
Market
UK6313.962-56.4163-69.7
EU10,333206.839,46577.893,3679.0
Non-EU Europe5,604267.622,509121.858,42020.6
Africa6,535261.229,15432.776,371-7.9
North America41,510106.8145,292-2.4382,994-25.3
Latin America1,153302.64,383-61.926,650-43.5
Middle East18,70294.171,5326.2215,796-12.0
Asia / Pacific32,254126.3119,64318.1336,376-18.0
Total116,096127.9432,04112.61,190,137-16.9