UK at risk of falling behind EU in its recovery, says Gatwick

The London hub is calling on the UK government to simplify the current travel restrictions and build upon the vaccination programme

Gatwick Airport’s interim passenger traffic results showed that only 596,000 travellers passed through the hub during the first six months of this year.  

Although the facility has remained open throughout this period, all revenue streams have been impacted and with the collapse in demand, alongside government restrictions, the site has suffered a £244.6m loss from January to June.  

Gatwick Airport
Photo Gatwick Airport

The airport is now calling on UK ministers to take advantage of the vaccination programme to help improve passenger confidence, by easing the current international travel requirements.  

Gatwick believes that the country is in danger of falling behind Europe and the US, whose regulations enable travellers to move more freely.  

According to the airport, France and Germany are experiencing around 50% of original pre-pandemic travel bookings. Whereas the UK is currently sitting at 16%.  

To improve the current circumstances in the UK, the London base is calling on the government to remove test requirements for travellers arriving from ‘green’ list countries. Additionally, it is also asking ministers to remove the testing regulations for vaccinated passengers from ‘amber’ destinations.  

“In the UK we are all emerging to enjoy more freedoms due to our world class vaccination programme, however we are in danger of squandering the advantage that vaccination programme has afforded us for international travel,” said Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport’s chief executive officer. “Our government needs to act now and remove unnecessary and costly PCR testing requirements for passengers, particularly for those double vaccinated. 

“UK travel recovery should not be allowed to lag behind the US and Europe. Passengers need the travel rules simplified so they can choose to travel more freely and enjoy much needed breaks and reunions with family and friends which are currently much more attainable for those in Europe and the US.” 

The airport’s reduction in capital expenditure resulted in a deferral or cancellation of more than £570m investments which were originally planned to take place across 2020, 2021 and next year. 

From June 30, the hub has held a strong liquidity position, with £779m to help meet operating cash flows, planned investment levels and interest payments over the next 12 months – ensuring Gatwick can commence with its recovery.