The Guardian - Julia Kollewe

Airport says passengers abandoned plans because of Omicron variant and uncertainty on restrictions

Heathrow airport has said at least 600,000 passengers cancelled their travel plans from the airport in December because of Omicron, warning aviation would take years to recover from the pandemic.

Only 19.4 million passengers passed through the airport in 2021 – less than a quarter of 2019 levels and below even 2020, the year when the Covid-19 pandemic started in March.

Heathrow said passengers cancelled their travel plans last month because of the Omicron variant and the uncertainty caused by swiftly imposed government travel restrictions. The UK’s busiest airport again urged the government to remove all testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers and to adopt a playbook for any future variants of concern that is more predictable.

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