Airlines cannot cope with the equivalent of five winter seasons caused by Covid and need travel restrictions lifted, Downing Street has been told.
In a letter to the prime minister, Airlines UK, Abta, Tui UK, British Airways, easyJet and others urge Boris Johnson to “Let Britain fly again.”
It accuses the government of “moving the goalposts” with recent comments by ministers.
The letter said: “We were dismayed to hear ministers say that travel is ‘dangerous’, that people should ‘stay in this country’ and not travel to amber countries – despite this being legal – given that the framework includes such strong safety mitigations.
“The government now appears not to want a meaningful restart to international travel this summer, and it is impossible for any business or consumers to plan under this scenario, such that we are genuinely fearful that some UK businesses may fail.
“Failures can be avoided. The science shows clearly the green list can be expanded safely now, including to many European countries, the US and the Caribbean.
"Many currently amber countries have significant levels of vaccinations, rapidly decreasing case numbers and, according to test and trace data, often considerably less than 1% of arrivals testing positive with no identified variants of concern entering the country. Under an evidence-based system based on risk, these should be green.”
Among the signatories was Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair chief executive. Speaking on an Airlines UK webinar, Hinkles warned:
“I don’t think UK aviation as an industry can go through another lost summer without grave consequences. The industry cannot economically cope with what would be a fifth winter season in succession.
“In that case, the government has to be prepared to step in and protect this industry.
“We are not primarily saying now you have to give the industry money. We are simply saying follow up on the framework that you put in place. We need to get more countries on the green list very rapidly.”