European leaders acted more quickly and their economies are reaping the benefits, John Holland-Kaye says

Paris’s Charles de Gaulle has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s busiest airport, with the London hub reporting falling passenger numbers and rising losses.

Heathrow reported a loss of £1.5bn in the first nine months of 2020 – a year when demand for air travel has been hit badly due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Passenger numbers between July and September were down by more than 84% compared with the same period in 2019, as the airport started to fall behind rivals that are using Covid-19 testing regimes.

COVID-19 testing stations have been set up at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris
COVID-19 testing stations have been set up at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris

Heathrow saw 18.97 million passengers in the year to the end of September, compared to the 19.27 million at Charles de Gaulle.

Both are followed closely by Amsterdam’s Schiphol (17.6 million) and Frankfurt in Germany (16.16 million).

Heathrow’s third-quarter revenue fell by 72% year on year to £239m, while earnings before tax and interest dropped to £37m.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye has regularly pushed for passenger testing as a way to keep the aviation and travel industry going during the coronavirus pandemic.