Heathrow ‘on track for recovery’ despite row over charges

The relaxation of Covid travel rules will put Heathrow “on track for recovery” despite coming under fire for plans to hike charges

The London hub welcomed the easing of testing requirements and the cut in the red list while revealing that September passenger levels remained at under 40% of pre-pandemic levels.

Total passengers using the airport last month amounted to 2.5 million, meaning that the annual throughout of 13.2 million was 66% down year-on-year.

The September figure came as EU rivals enjoyed a stronger resurgence over the summer, according to Heathrow.

The airport said: “We welcome the easing of testing requirements and red-list reduction, which will make international travel simpler, cheaper and less stressful for all passengers.

“The removal of PCR tests for vaccinated travellers in October and the opening up in the US should mean that passengers can book with confidence for half-term and Christmas travel, and put us on track for recovery.”

The comments came as Iata chief executive Willie Walsh was reported as criticising Heathrow over plans to raise charges on airlines next year.

A Heathrow spokesman told The Telegraph: “The vast majority of airports right across the UK and the world are having to increase their prices – it’s not a uniquely Heathrow phenomenon, but a legitimate response to keep airports operating.

“We’ve proposed a balanced increase of 4% to the average air fare.”

Meanwhile, Heathrow urged the government to put policies in place to scale up the production of sustainable aviation fuels in the UK, a price support mechanism and loan guarantees.

The call came after Iata made a global commitment to net zero aviation by 2050.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We should aim for 2019 to have been the peak year for fossil fuel use in global aviation.

“The UK government can show real leadership in decarbonising aviation at COP26, by setting a progressively increasing mandate and a plan to use contracts for difference to accelerate the transition to sustainable aviation fuel in the UK, which will protect the benefits of flying for future generations.”


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