EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren has branded the cost of pre-departure Covid testing "prohibitive" and called for cheaper testing to be made available to holidaymakers.
Speaking to the BBC, Lundgren said that while the UK’s Covid vaccination programme would "undoubtedly be the key to unlocking travel again", testing had an important role to play.
Many countries, including the UK, are now demanding evidence of a negative Covid test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, with the cost of these tests running to as much as £150pp.
"We would like to see the prices come down," said the easyJet chief executive.
Lundgren revealed easyJet holidays sales for summer 2021 were up 250% compared with summer 2020 booking volumes at the same time last year, albeit with the airline’s in-house operator – relaunched in autumn 2019 – significantly more established than it was a year ago.
May, said Lundgren, is currently proving the most popular month for holiday bookings.
"We know there is pent-up demand – we have seen that every time restrictions have been relaxed, and so we know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can," said Lundgren.
"We have been pleased to see that some customers are making plans for their summer holidays now, with easyJet holidays bookings for summer 2021 up 250% compared to the same time last year, and with May currently proving to be the most popular month for holiday bookings at the moment."
Lundgren added that with the introduction of pre-departure testing for UK arrivals – which comes in addition to quarantine rather than replacing it, and the suspension on Monday (18 January) of all of the UK’s quarantine-free travel corridors – it was vital the government made "unwinding" these measures part of its planning for the travel industry to recover.