The imposition of UK quarantine restrictions last month saw an immediate 10% fall in load factors, Heathrow revealed today.

The boss of the London hub called for the government to act faster in order to protect jobs and unlock growth.

The plea came as Heathrow reported a drop in passenger numbers of more than 95% to just 350,000 compared to the start of last year’s summer season.

The quarantine policy for international arrivals directly hit load factors, which immediately fell 10% following its introduction in early June.

“An exit plan is now more critical than ever, as long-haul flights remain grounded and more jobs continue to be put at risk in an industry crucial to rebuilding the UK economy,” the airport said.

“Whilst steps toward travel corridors in July provide some hope for an initial recovery, further pace is needed to move past quarantine.

“Heathrow urges government to act faster on establishing common international standards that would allow safer travel to critical trading routes.”

The airport is trialling a number of technologies and processes to keep the it Covid-secure as travel resumes, including temperature testing trials and exploring the use of UV sanitation to quickly disinfect key touchpoints in the passenger journey.

Heathrow also hopes to host the UK’s first pilot ‘test-on-arrival’ scheme which could allow Covid-negative passengers arriving from higher risk countries to enter the UK without the need to quarantine.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Travel corridors were a great first step and now we need to go further to protect jobs and kick-start the economy, by allowing healthy passengers to travel freely between the UK and the rest of the world.

“We’re ready to pilot a testing system on arrival for passengers from ‘red’ countries as an alternative to quarantine, but even better would be to test passengers before they get on a plane.

“This requires a common international standard for testing, which the UK government could take a global lead in setting up.”

Meanwhile, residents have complained after Heathrow confirmed that it will only be using one of its two runways until October, just days before the plans for a third runway are due to be heard at the Supreme Court.

The southern runway will be closed to enable works to take place.