Airline bosses have slammed confusion caused by the traffic lights system used in tandem with FCDO travel advice and said they need more transparency to plan for travel’s return.
A panel of airline chief executives spoke of the conflict between the traffic lights, designed to protect the spread of the virus and FCDO advice, which warns of danger in destinations.
Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Having two separate lists is utterly confusing for customers. If I had two departments with one saying one thing and one another, I would get them in my office and bang their bloody heads together.”
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren added: “The notion of having two lists is utterly confusing.”
He said this, combined with a lack of transparency from government, made planning impossible. “Trying to second guess this is akin to a travel version of pin the tail on the donkey.”
The Airlines UK panel criticised the government for a lack of transparency over how it placed destinations in traffic light categories. The panel said clarity via a clear system of data would allow them to plan but ruled out a legal challenge to government.
Tui UK chief executive Andrew Flintham said: “Transparency brings understanding,” adding that infection rates in the Balearics would suggest it was safe to travel there. “But because we have not got the transparency, we can’t move to the places the data seems to be saying we can travel to.”
Manchester Airports Group chief executive Charlie Cornish added: “We have asked the government why the Balearics is not green. We have just not had that info. There is no reason why more countries should not be on the green list now.”
Heapy added: “We have a loose idea of what the government is looking at, but we don’t know what the criteria are, so it is very, very difficult to predict which destinations to open or not. If we could understand the criteria further ahead, we could make more informed decisions.”