Europe is taking off… as UK remains grounded: Damning new figures reveal Britain is behind most of the continent over re-opening the skies
- Data shows passenger numbers down by 73 per cent year-on-year in August
- Passenger numbers were down by 60 per cent in France and 62 per cent in Italy
- Aviation bosses warn we will lose trading superpower status unless ministers act
Britain lags behind most of Europe when it comes to re-opening the skies, damning figures reveal.
Passenger numbers were down by 73 per cent year-on-year in August, according to data from Airports Council International seen by the Daily Mail.
This compares unfavourably to data from countries where airport testing regimes have been put in place.
Figures show Frankfurt airport in Germany and Charles de Gaulle in Paris carried more passengers over the past few months than Heathrow (pictured) – for the first time in history
In France, passenger numbers were down by only 60 per cent and in Italy by 62 per cent. Most countries in eastern Europe were down by 68 per cent and in southern Europe, including Spain and Portugal, by 65 per cent.
Airport bosses said the figures prove the UK is trailing behind dozens of other countries which offer or accept Covid tests at airports.
In another blow to Britain’s status as an aviation heavyweight, figures show Frankfurt airport and Charles de Gaulle in Paris carried more passengers over the past few months than Heathrow – for the first time in history.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, told the Mail: ‘There is no surprise that, with quarantine measures constantly changing, and no sign of a testing regime, UK aviation has suffered through its worst summer in a generation.
‘The Government needs to work quickly with the industry to ensure further, irreparable damage to our once world-leading aviation sector does not occur.
‘A robust testing regime for international travellers is one solution which could help secure the restart of UK aviation and UK PLC.’
Airport bosses said the figures prove the UK is trailing behind dozens of other countries which offer or accept Covid tests at airports. An empty looking Heathrow Airport is seen above
Aviation bosses backing the Mail’s Get Britain Flying campaign have warned we will lose our status as a global trading superpower unless ministers take urgent action.
Writing in the Mail last week, Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye warned: ‘If the Government doesn’t get a grip and reopen our borders safely, Britain will fall behind.
‘If EU airports thrive, while the UK’s hub declines, then Brexit Britain will rely on European hubs to get their global goods to market… Britain will become a vassal state of the EU, just after we have left.’