COVID-19: UK air passenger arrivals plunged by 98% at height of pandemic

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Air passenger numbers plummeted by 98% at the height the pandemic last year, official figures show.

Monthly arrivals to the UK fell during the first lockdown from 6.8 million in February to 112,300 in April 2020, data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals.

The figures have been released as part of an analysis of how industries related to travel and tourism in the UK have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

They show Greater London saw the largest fall in room occupancy of any English region from 2019 to 2020, with just 20% of rooms occupied in July last year compared with 90% in the same month in 2019.

Accommodation and travel agency businesses saw the sharpest decline in turnover during the first national lockdown, falling to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.

In the three months to June 2020, employment in accommodation for visitors fell by 21.5% compared with the same three months of 2019.

In travel and tourism industries overall, the number of people aged 16 to 24 years saw the largest fall in employment of any age group between July to September in 2019 and the same period in 2020.

Most travel and tourism industries also had a higher percentage of people on furlough leave than other sectors, according to the ONS.