London's Heathrow Airport says it has lost its place as Europe's busiest air hub to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after the COVID-19 pandemic grounded flights. Britain failed to approve passenger testing that could scale back quarantine requirements.
Heathrow said Wednesday that it expects passenger numbers to fall more than previously forecast this year and rebound more slowly in 2021.
The airport now expects to serve 22.6 million passengers this year and 37.1 million in 2021, down from a June forecast of 29.2 million and 62.8 million. The forecast for this year represents a 72% drop from 2019.
Commercial aviation plunged this year as governments implemented travel restrictions, and passengers canceled flights amid efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Some countries have sought to revive the market by implementing passenger testing regimes that reduce or eliminate the need for quarantines.
Next year, Heathrow hopes to take about 37 million passengers (in June, the company said a possible 62.8 million customers in 2021). Continuing difficult conditions throughout the year led to the fact that the airport's net loss for the first nine months has already reached 1.5 billion pounds.