Heathrow Airport has reported a massive loss of £1.5billion in the first nine months of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger numbers between July and September were down by more than 84 per cent compared with the same period in 2019, leading the London hub to be overtaken by Paris Charles de Gaulle as the busiest in Europe.
Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt are “close behind”, Heathrow warned.
Coronavirus testing regimes have been implemented at all three “continental rivals”, it added.
The UK Government has announced an intention to introduce testing for passengers from high-risk countries by December 1 to help restart the UK economy but this is seen as too little, too late by industry experts.
Heathrow said passenger safety was its top priority and said it had invested in the most extensive array of Covid-secure technologies. New rapid testing schemes are already helping to open up overseas markets safely elsewhere.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Britain is falling behind because we’ve been too slow to embrace passenger testing.
“European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits.
“Paris has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport for the first time ever, and Frankfurt and Amsterdam are quickly gaining ground.
“Let’s make Britain a winner again.
“Bringing in pre-departure Covid tests and partnering with our US allies to open a pilot air bridge to America will kickstart our economic recovery and put the UK back ahead of our European rivals.”