Bosses from the UK’s leading airlines have urged the Prime Minister to give international travel a restart to those who have got the coronavirus vaccine.
Foreign trips are currently restricted until at least 17 May, and when the ban is lifted will be replaced by a risk-based “traffic light” system with red, amber and green ratings for countries around the world.
Chief executives of British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic, and trade body Airlines UK have written to Boris Johnson, urging him to open up borders to the vaccinated tourists as soon as possible.
They said: “There can be no economic recovery without aviation, and we are confident we now have the tools to enable a safe and meaningful restart to travel in May – allowing us to return to our job of reuniting friends and family, supporting trade and business and allowing Britons to enjoy a well-earned break again.”
It added: “We believe vaccinated passengers should not be subject to travel restrictions and that testing can also reduce the barriers to travel including for areas that are considered to present some risk. Only very high-risk areas would be subject to more stringent measures”
On Monday, the PM is expected to outline the Government’s approach for easing restrictions on foreign travel when its global travel task force reports on 12 April.
The traffic light system will be based on a range of factors – including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Travellers arriving from “green” rated countries will not be required to isolate – although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.
For those classed as “amber” or “red”, the restrictions will remain as they are with arrivals required to isolate or stay quarantined.
The letter comes after the same group of airline bosses on February 18 called on the Government to outline a recovery road map for the industry so they could plan for the summer.
At the same time, they called for further economic support for UK aviation to stimulate and strengthen any recovery when it is needed.