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Heathrow CEO Slams Lack Of Airport Testing As Losses Hit £1.5 Billion

Léonie Chao-Fong
·News reporter, HuffPost UK
·2 min read

Heathrow airport has recorded a loss of £1.5 billion in the first nine months of the year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, after passenger numbers plummeted by more than 80% in a year.

For the first time, the London airport has been overtaken by Paris’s Charles De Gaulle as Europe’s busiest airport.

The UK is “falling behind” as a result of being too slow on passenger testing, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye warned.

Heathrow has repeatedly called for coronavirus testing to provide an alternative to quarantine.

It comes as the airport reported an 84% drop in passenger numbers between July and September compared with the same period last year.

Heathrow’s third-quarter revenue fell by 72% to £239 million, while earnings before tax and interest fell to £37 million.

Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport saw 19.27 million passengers in the first nine months of the year, compared to 18.97 million passengers at Heathrow.

Heathrow opened its first rapid Covid-19 testing facility last week for passengers flying to Hong Kong and Italy, months after airports in other countries have offered testing.

The tests aim to deliver results within an hour and will be available at two new pre-departure testing facilities in Terminals 2 and 5.

Holland-Kaye said: “Britain is falling behind because we’ve been too slow to embrace passenger testing. 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 air bridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.