A limited number of flights from red list countries previously subject to a UK flight ban will be permitted starting next week under a new government trial.
Flights will have to arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports to separate red list arrivals from those arriving from green and amber list destinations.
Passengers will be processed separately to other arrivals before proceeding straight to a hotel quarantine facility.
Announcing the trial on Thursday (3 June), the Department for Transport claimed it would reduce queues at the border.
The "limited trial" will get under way on Tuesday (8 June), which coincides with the addition of a further seven countries to the UK government’s Covid red list, expanding it to 50 countries.
Joining India, Pakistan, the UAE and Turkey on the red list are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad & Tobago.
"The government has always stated international travel will be different this year, both in terms of passenger experience and with regards to what countries the public could visit to protect the hard-fought gains of the vaccine programme roll-out," said the DfT. "Passengers should be aware that while Covid travel restrictions are in place, queue waiting times may be longer than usual.
"As part of a limited trial, from 8 June, direct flights will be permitted to England from countries on the ’red list’ that were previously subject to flight bans, so long as they arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports.
"The requirement for these direct flights to arrive at dedicated facilities will help keep more red list passengers separate from other arrivals, helping to ensure they are processed as safely and efficiently as possible and then travel straight to their managed quarantine hotel and reduce queues at the border."
The DfT said the government would maintain 100% health checks at the border to minimise the risk of new variants of Covid-19 being imported into the UK.