Heathrow Boss Calls for Relaxation of Restrictions

Says self-isolation should not be required on return from US and EU

Heathrow Airport has seen sharp decline in passenger numbers
Heathrow Airport has seen sharp decline in passenger numbers

Fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and EU should not have to self-isolate when they return to the UK, Heathrow’s boss has said.

Currently passengers entering the UK have to show proof of a recent negative Covid test and book a day two and eight testing package for after they arrive, which can cost around £200.

Now the airport says it wants to “kickstart Britain’s economic recovery” by allowing quarantine-free travel for all fully-vaccinated travellers from the USA and EU.

Airport bosses say the UK risks losing its competitive advantage on transatlantic trade under current restrictions and could be costing the UK economy more than £23 million a day.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said, “While it’s fantastic news that some double-vaccinated passengers will no longer need to quarantine from amber countries, ministers need to extend this policy to US and EU nationals if they want to kickstart the economic recovery.

“These changes will be critical for exporters who are losing out to EU rivals and families who have been separated from loved ones.

“We have all the tools to safely restart international travel, and now is the time for Global Britain to take off!”

A trial launched last week by Heathrow Airport, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways aims to show transatlantic passengers to Heathrow can verify they have been fully-vaccinated before arriving.

The group hopes to demonstrate a change in self-isolation rules for vaccinated people would not put additional pressure on UK Immigration.

Employment at the west London airport has already been decimated by the effect of the pandemic.

Heathrow Airport says 15,000-25,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic, describing the loss as the size of a “small town”.

Figures released today show the airport’s total passenger figures are down 81.7% from pre-pandemic levels, with 957,000 travellers in June.

Pre-pandemic, 75,000 people are estimated to have worked at the airport.

Last week, Mr Holland-Kaye told Sky News 50,000 staff passes have been handed back by airport workers since the pandemic began.

Josh Mellor - Local Democracy Reporter


July 12, 2021