“It feels like the normal person in the street is being marginalised, while the government sort the rich, important people out – I think it’s wrong.”
That was the assessment of Jet2 boss Steve Heapy as he described his frustration at the UK government for permitting large crowds at sporting events and quarantine exemptions for VIPs while restricting international travel.
Heapy, chief executive of Jet2holidays and Jet2.com, slammed ministers for creating different rules for some industries and parts of society.
“You’ve got the cases of rich Uefa officials coming without being quarantined, rich leaders of international companies not being quarantined, rich people can go and watch Wimbledon in a massive crowd and people can stand in a crowd of 60,000 to watch the football – but you can’t go on holiday.
“The data seems to support an opening up of travel and the government can’t keep saying ‘one more week, one more week, one more week’ – they’ve got to press the button and go.”
Heapy expressed his support for the industry’s recent ramping up of its lobbying activity – including the Travel Day of Action on 23 June.
“There’s an element of the loudest person shouting gets heard and I think the more we can voice our opinions to the government, then it increase the chances of some help,” he said.
“If you’re silent the government will think you’re happy or not bothered.”
He also warned that despite an upturn in business following an expansion of the green list and subsequent media reports of surging sales, “just because we’re flying again doesn’t mean everything is fine”.
“There’s a lot of companies taking on more debt, downsizing and doing various things that you do in an emergency but to get back to business as usual is going to take a long time,” added Heapy.