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Airports warn of up to 20,000 job cuts as Heathrow reports fall in traffic

Independent forecasts suggest it will take up to four years for passenger numbers to return to pre-COVID levels

Heathrow airport

Airports say they could be forced to axe 20,000 jobs unless they get support from the government as a report from Heathrow showed how flight numbers remain flattened by coronavirus restrictions.  

Heathrow said passenger numbers reached around 350,000 in June, down 95% compared to the same month last year.

The London hub said the UK government's quarantine policy for international arrivals “directly hit load factors, which immediately fell 10% following its introduction in early June”. 

Heathrow, which is closing one of its runways for repairs due to the low traffic numbers, said it was ready to carry out a ‘test on arrival’ pilot scheme, subject to government approval, that “could allow COVID-negative passengers arriving from higher risk countries to enter the UK without the need to quarantine”.

Meanwhile, the Airports Operators Association (AOA) launched an appeal for urgent business rates relief for airports in England and Wales for one year, similar to that given to hospitality, leisure and retail sectors.

Independent forecasts suggest it will take up to four years for passenger numbers to return to pre-COVID levels.

Over the weekend, first international commercial flights took off from London City airport since it closed due to the pandemic on March 25, with domestic routes having run since June 21.

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