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Heathrow Airport CEO: Apps Can Revitalize Foreign Travel



It was reported in July last year that the global tourism industry loss may exceed $1.2 trillion. Apart from lockdowns and travel restrictions, many are hesitant to travel due to the possibility of getting infected during flight.

One of the best ways to get people to travel again is to reassure them that they are safe. The long quarantine can be a deterrent as people wouldn’t want to spend a huge chunk of their vacation money locked in a hotel for a week.

Heathrow Airport considers 2020 as the toughest year for the 75-year old airport. If the number of travelers stays the way they are, there’s even a chance that it is going to pause its operations. However, Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye reassured that they have enough funds to run until 2023.

Holland-Kaye initially believed that people can travel by summer. However, with UK’s plan to extend the ban on international travel until May, the aviation sector has no other choice but to prepare for May 17. He said that “we can start to plan ahead for 17 May to make sure we’ve got the people and the planes in place”.

He also believes that travelers from different countries will have different requirements to enter the UK. Countries like New Zealand and Singapore with a low number of COVID19 cases can be classified as “low risk”. It’s possible that low-risk countries are not required to have COVID19 tests. On the other hand, countries categorized as “high risk” will require quarantine and testing.

Heathrow Airport Takes 20 Minutes Per Passenger

Holland-Kaye also believes that digital technology will play a role in reviving the travel industry. When asked about digital health apps, he said that “it’s absolutely critical and that’s one of the main things that government needs to work on”.

The UK is also discussing the possibility of using a vaccine passport along with other G7 countries. Holland-Kaye said that a digital vaccine passport needs to be sped up. It takes 20 minutes per passenger at Heathrow to clear all the paperwork. And when passenger numbers pickup, the current system isn’t going to work.


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