For the first time, Paris Charles de Gaulle has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport, with Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt close behind. All three continental rivals have implemented testing regimes. The UK Government has announced an intention to introduce testing for passengers from high-risk countries by 1st December to help restart the UK economy.
Passenger numbers are now forecast to be 22.6m in 2020 and 37.1m in 2021, compared to our June forecast of 29.2m in 2020 and 62.8m in 2021, and 2019 actuals of 81m. The reduction is caused by the second wave of COVID and slow progress on introducing testing by the UK government to reopen borders with “high risk” countries.
Heathrow’s losses have widened to £1.5 billion in the first 9 months as passenger numbers in Q3 remained down over 84%. Q3 revenue fell 72% to £239 million and Q3 adjusted EBITDA fell to £37 million.
Heathrow CEO John 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 airbridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals.”