Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye has warned a lack of government action to support aviation is "weakening" the sector, risking making an eventual economic recovery even more difficult.
The airport on Wednesday (11 November) recorded an eighth consecutive month of what it described as "catastrophic decline", and warned November would be even worse owing to England returning to a state of national lockdown until at least 2 December.
It further bemoaned the government’s failure to approve its efforts to implement testing, claiming this was resulting in UK airports being left behind by their EU counterparts.
Last month, Heathrow had to concede its title as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle, with Schiphol "close behind".
Heathrow’s traffic was down 82% year-on-year in October, with long-haul and "trade critical" markets worst affected due to the government’s "debilitating" quarantine requirements.
"The UK’s aviation industry is essential to the supply chain of temperature-sensitive, time-critical goods like vaccines," said Heathrow on Wednesday. "41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical supplies are imported via Heathrow alone.
"Heathrow is offering Oxford LAMP rapid Covid-19 tests to passengers travelling to other countries, but these are not yet approved for UK arrivals.
"The lack of a testing regime has left British airports unable to compete with EU rivals, the refusal to offer English and Welsh airports business rates relief runs the risk of worsening an already challenging situation, and the plans to end VAT-free shopping threatens to kick our industry when its down."
Holland Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, added: "Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, critical for exports of goods and services and imports of vaccines, as well as inbound tourism, students and foreign direct investment.
"Lack of government action is weakening our sector, making it harder for us to support the eventual economic recovery and help deliver the prime minister’s vision of a global Britain."