This is not a paywall.

Register for free to continue reading.

The news sucks. But your reading experience doesn't have to. Help us improve that for you by registering for free.

Please create a password or click to receive a login link.

Please enter your password or get a login link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for registering.

First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Heathrow Loses European Airport Crown in Pandemic Year

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Heathrow Loses European Airport Crown in Pandemic Year

A traveler arrives at London Heathrow Airport in London, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. U.K. ministers have closed travel corridors with other countries from Monday, meaning that all visitors from overseas will require a negative test result within 72 hours of travel to enter Britain.
By Bloomberg
18 Jan 2021 0

London Heathrow lost its top spot among European airports last year as travel curbs tied to the coronavirus pandemic kept passengers away.

Heathrow’s 73% drop left it trailing both Istanbul’s new hub, which attracted 23.4 million travelers in its first full calendar year of operation, and Paris Charles de Gaulle, which retained the No. 2 spot.

All of Europe’s airport’s suffered, with 23 million passengers equating to a rank outside the top 30 in any normal year.

New Order

A push to replace country-specific entry curbs with pre-flight testing has unraveled with the rise of more-infectious strains of the virus. Britain’s quarantine policy and a shifting list of exempted countries have also discouraged travel to London. The government last week tightened up further, halting flights from South America and extending self-isolation to all arrivals.

While most West European airports — from Frankfurt to Amsterdam to Barcelona — saw traffic sink 70% or more last year, Istanbul’s two biggest hubs and Moscow Sheremetyevo reported smaller declines, thus rising in the ranks. Traffic at Moscow’s two smaller airports has not yet been reported.

New national clampdowns mean travel will remain difficult for some time. Italy extended its state of emergency into April, while Austria’s lockdown will run into February, with Germany set to follow suit.

Starting Monday, travelers coming into France from outside of the European Union will have to be tested prior to boarding, agree to self-isolate for a week upon arrival, and then take another test.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted