London Heathrow overtaken by Paris Charles de Gaulle as Europe’s busiest airport

Heathrow Airport has lost £1.5 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Passenger numbers between July and September dropped by a colossal 84% compared with the same period in 2019.

London's biggest airport has now been knocked off the top stop at Europe's busiest terminal with Paris Charles de Gaulle leap-frogging it for the title.

The Netherlands' Amsterdam Schiphol and Germany's Frankfurt are also "close behind" Heathrow as the second busiest airport.

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Britain is falling behind because we've been too slow to embrace passenger testing.

"European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits."

Coronavirus testing regimes have been already implemented at all three "continental rivals".

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

Holland-Kaye added: "Paris has overtaken Heathrow as Europe's largest airport for the first time ever, and Frankfurt and Amsterdam are quickly gaining ground.

"Let's make Britain a winner again.

"Bringing in pre-departure Covid tests and partnering with our US allies to open a pilot air bridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals."

Heathrow cutting 500 jobs as a result of Covi-19's impact on air travel but insisted finances were solid and it had reserves to tide it over until 2023.

Thousands of jobs have already been slashed by airlines hit hard by the virus, such as British Airways and Easyjet.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 290 airlines, estimates that air traffic will not return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024.

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