The UK must introduce a testing on arrival regime if it wishes to maintain a leading position in global aviation, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has argued.
Echoing concerns from the International Air Transport Association earlier, he argued the country was already suffering.
“Britain’s economic recovery is falling behind,” he said.
“Heathrow’s traffic figures for August demonstrate the extent to which quarantine is strangling the economy, cutting British businesses off from their international markets and blocking international students, tourists and investors from coming here to spend money.
“The government has announced it is looking at the options for reducing quarantine for passengers who test negative for Covid-19 – but ministers urgently need to turn words into action.
“Every day of further government delay costs British jobs and livelihoods.”
The comments come as Heathrow releases figures showing just 1.4 million guests passed through the airport in August, down 81.5 per cent from the same month last year.
Long haul markets, which are critical for UK exporters and a main source of inbound tourism, students and investment, remain closed as a result of the evolving quarantine policy, Holland-Kaye argued.
North American passenger numbers, for example, are down by more than 95 per cent compared to last year.
More than 30 airports are already using testing as a safe alternative to 14-day quarantine, Holland-Kaye concluded.