MPs have urged the government to publish the Global Travel Taskforce’s recommendations on 12 April and stick to 17 May as the date for resuming international travel.
The influential transport committee said the taskforce’s report should be made public on 12 April and be accompanied by a statement in the House of Commons to set out “the next steps to recovery”.
The cross-party committee of MPs is urging the government not to restrict the report’s recommendations to prime minister Boris Johnson and added that failing to publish them would be “risking another blow to the stricken sector”.
The committee added that delaying the 17 May restart date for international travel would mean the “financial challenges facing aviation business could reach critical levels”. It urged the government to stick to this date as long as the four "reopening tests" set out in February are met.
Huw Merriman, the committee’s chair, said: “The 12 April date should not merely be the date when the Global Travel Taskforce makes a recommendation on an international travel route map for the prime minister to take forward but, as was expected, the date when the industry and public are informed by government of the way forward.
“Not for the first time, the transport committee is calling on government to provide a greater degree of certainty for the aviation sector.”
The committee said the taskforce report needed to set out the criteria destination countries must meet on vaccines and testing to reopen for travel with the UK, as well as what passengers need to do to be able to travel overseas, such as any requirement for digital health certification.
It also wants to know when and how the current quarantine schemes will be phased out, and how the government plans to support the travel industry should the restart schedule be disrupted by new Covid-19 variants or higher transmission levels.
MPs have also been calling on the government to “drive forward the development and implementation of global health standards for the aviation sector”.
Merriman added: “The UK should be ambitious in this regard. The success of the UK’s vaccination programme should help clear the UK for take-off.”