The government’s "overly-cautious" plan to restart international travel later this month risks squandering the UK’s "vaccine dividend", aviation leaders have warned.
Together, they call on the UK government to follow Europe’s lead and allow vaccinated Brits returning from “green list”, those adjudged to pose a similar or lower Covid risk to that here in the UK, to side-step inbound testing requirements when travel resumes.
“Instead of taking advantage of the success of the vaccine programme, the government risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world,” said the chief executives of Heathrow, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, and Manchester Airports Group in a wide-ranging piece written for The Telegraph on Thursday (6 May).
They call on government to do more to cut the price of testing, and to be more bold in the countries to which it permits quarantine-free travel from the outset as the UK’s vaccination programme continues at pace and those in other countries, particularly mainland Europe, gain momentum.
A limited resumption of international travel is expected from 17 May, governed by a new risk-based traffic light system setting out the testing and quarantine rules Brits will have to abide by when they come home.
The government is preparing to set out how it proposes to categorise destinations by traffic light tier, with “green”, “amber” and “red” lists expected in the coming days after committing to an “early May” timetable for publication.
Arrivals from green list destinations will not have to quarantine upon their return, but they will have to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test by the end of the second day of their return.