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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been sudden, significant, and tragic. It will change our lives and the way that we do things forever – including how we fly. 

At Heathrow, we’re already working on what this future might look like and calling on Government and Public Health England to help lead the charge. We’re exploring some great ideas but unless there’s a clear international standard for airports for to follow, then passengers will continue to be left wondering what is and isn’t effective. 

Today, you’ll find all of the PHE, medically driven, recommended measures in place at Heathrow. For example:

  • Over 600 hand sanitizer dispensers; 
  • Social distancing posters, digital signs, and floor markers; 
  • Additional PPE provided to colleagues and Perspex barriers installed in security areas; 
  • Procedures for airlines to notify the airport and PHE of suspected cases; 
  • The presence of a dedicated team of PHE doctors and officials

One thing you will not find widely across the airport is temperature checks. 

PHE guidance is that temperature checks are not an effective way of mitigating the outbreak at airports, particularly once community transmission occurs, but we know many of you continue to ask us why they’re not in place.

For this reason, and the continued inconsistency in approach between countries across the world, we’ve written to Government and asked them to help expedite an agreement on a common approach to processes which could be introduced internationally. We have also called on Public Health England to  publish the evidence stating that temperature checks at airports are ineffective. Only then will passengers be reassured around the safety of travel.

What could future processes look like at airports across the world? 

Our priority is always to ensure the safety of both our passengers and colleagues. We also need to give people the confidence to travel so that the aviation industry and global economies can start to recover. As a global hub airport, Heathrow will need to adopt the highest international standards, even if that takes us beyond those required by the UK Government.  

We are already working with the aviation industry and regulators both here and in other countries to establish the need for a common standard, and what that might involve. These could include enhanced cleaning regimes, health passports, health screening at entry points or development of technology that will reduce person to person contact throughout the passenger’s journey.  

It’s too early to say what the outcomes could be, but our view is that any measure agreed, must meet three criteria:

  1. It must be medically effective
  2. It must be something that meets the expectations of the public in terms of safety, security, and convenience
  3. It  must be something that airports can implement and deliver

We believe the UK Government could provide a lead in defining that Common International Standard, as they have done with security standards. We will continue to work with them and others to establish those guidelines.

1000% increase in cargo flights...why Heathrow remains open

Thousands of colleagues across Heathrow continue to work tirelessly to help keep the airport moving and playing its vital role in helping the country through the pandemic. 

Their work means that Heathrow has remained open to serve the country during these unprecedented times, bringing stranded friends and family home, and delivering vital, life-saving, medical cargo supplies. 

In April, we’re expecting passenger numbers to drop to a mere 10% of normal volumes but cargo numbers to continue to saw.

Just last week, Heathrow welcomed a record-breaking 520 cargo-only flights, an over 1000% increase on our pre-COVID average. This included our busiest ever day for these movements on April 23 as we welcomed 86 cargo only flights.

Each week we’re seeing airlines like Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and American Airlines all flying dedicated cargo services carrying Covid-19 related medical equipment.

To find out more please visit our Coronavirus FAQ page: