Call for end to Covid travel restrictions
Airline bosses send open letter to UK government
The PA News Agency reports that the chief executives of the UK’s largest airlines have written to the Government to demand an end to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
In the letter, they ask that restriction-free travel is restored “at the very least” for those who are fully vaccinated. They say that Omicron is in retreat and evidence shows that travel restrictions have a “limited effect” in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The UK Government was already due to review travel requirements for England next week.
The letter is signed by the heads of Ryanair, Easyjet, Loganair, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Jet2, as well as the chief executives of holiday travel group Tui and trade body Airlines UK.
It contains three key demands:
– Restriction free travel for all travellers or at the very least those who are fully vaccinated;
– The targeted and transparent use of red lists without universal testing or hotel quarantines;
– That the Government rules out the use of border closures and flight bans in response to future variants of concern.
The chief executives say that travel restrictions have had a devastating effect on the UK’s economy, with marginal health benefits.
“This has meant fewer business trips and less investment in our economy, fewer chances for holidays and to reunite with friends and family abroad, and fewer international visitors”, the airline bosses write.
“VisitBritain estimate nearly £50bn in tourism spend from overseas has been lost since the pandemic began – all resulting in less tax revenue to fund public services including the NHS.
“The recovery of the UK’s aviation industry is vital; not just to the more than half a million people working in it, but to everyone who lives and works in the UK.”