Britain's Heathrow Airport plunged to a £2 billion annual loss after passenger numbers collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s during the pandemic. 

Heathrow called on the UK government to agree a common international travel standard to allow passengers to start flying again in the summer and to provide tax breaks for airports to help them ride out the crisis. 

The airport, near London, is hopeful that travel markets will reopen from mid-May after a government announcement on easing lockdown on Monday. 

Heathrow, the UK's biggest airport, last year lost its title as the busiest in Europe to Paris as its flight schedules contracted more than its rival's. 

The airport said today that passenger numbers shrunk 73% to 22 million people in 2020, with half of those people having travelled during January and February before Covid-19 shut down global travel. 

The airport sunk to a £2 billion loss before tax on revenues which were down 62% to £1.18 billion, but Heathrow said it had £3.9 billion of liquidity and that could keep it going until 2023. 

The airport is owned by Spain's Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp, among others.