Airlines demand government rules out border closures in response to future variants of concern

The leaders of seven of the most important airways serving the UK have requested the well being secretary to guarantee travellers there will likely be no additional “knee-jerk common testing or lodge quarantine” in response to future Covid variants.

In a joint letter, coordinated by the business physique Airways UK, they name on Sajid Javid to “rule out border closures and flight bans in response to future variants of concern”.

When Omicron was recognized in late November, flights from South Africa to the UK had been instantly grounded. Arriving travellers from 11 African nations had been positioned in lodge quarantine. The “purple listing” was deserted on 15 December.

Arrivals from different places had been required to take pre-departure checks and post-arrival PCRs, with obligatory quarantine till a unfavourable end result was obtained.

These restrictions had been eased earlier this month, however arrivals from each international nation besides Eire should take a take a look at on the day of return or one of many two following days – even when they’ve had a number of Covid jabs.

The airways’ letter requires “restriction-free worldwide journey, on the very least for the totally vaccinated” – together with an finish to post-arrival checks.

The CEOs are Sean Doyle of British Airways; Johan Lundgren of easyJet; Steve Heapy of Jet2; Jonathan Hinkles of Loganair; Eddie Wilson of Ryanair; and Shai Weiss of Virgin Atlantic. Andrew Flintham, managing Director, Tui UK & Eire, is the seventh signatory.

They are saying: “Worldwide journey is likely one of the few areas the place there is no such thing as a return to regular but. Proof exhibits that journey restrictions haven’t been efficient in stopping the unfold of Omicron or its affect on the NHS.

“Final summer time noticed restriction-free journey throughout Europe for the totally vaccinated, with no indicators this led to worse outcomes than the UK skilled.

“It’s time for passengers and companies who rely on the UK’s air connectivity to completely profit from the identical vaccine dividend that has enabled our home economic system to reopen.”

The aviation business within the UK has been hit far tougher in some other main European nation, with worldwide departures final 12 months simply 29 per cent of 2019 ranges.

“Sophisticated, expensive and unstable journey guidelines have seen UK passenger numbers and worldwide connectivity get well slower than our European neighbours,” the leaders say.

Round £50bn has been misplaced from inbound tourism, which has nearly vanished on account of journey restrictions imposed on worldwide arrivals.

Earlier this month Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, mentioned: “I’ve all the time mentioned that we received’t hold worldwide journey restrictions in place any longer than they’re obligatory to guard public well being.

“We wish to present extra certainty to passengers and companies, and can do a full overview of our worldwide journey measures for 2022 by the tip of the month.”

An announcement on easing restrictions is predicted as quickly as right now.

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