The boss of London City airport has urged the government’s new taskforce to plan out how it will implement a testing regime for travel.
Robert Sinclair said that he hoped the group would “acknowledge the fundamental importance of business air travel to the economic recovery prospects of the UK and other sectors such as hospitality and leisure”.
He and others urged the taskforce to move with the “utmost speed”, setting out a roadmap for the introduction of a testing regime which would ultimately lead to the elimination of quarantine.
The call was also supported by KLM, which operates services from their global hub in Amsterdam to 15 airports across the UK.
Sinclair said: “The UK aviation industry is the third largest in the world and a global success story.
“But it is not just an industry itself, it also acts as an enabler of other industries such as trade, tourism, hospitality, imports, exports and conferences.
“We know the demand for air travel is there, but restrictive quarantine measures are currently holding business leaders back from flying, and the UK economy from beginning its recovery.
“We sincerely hope that the Global Travel Taskforce both acknowledges how fundamental business travel is and moves quickly to introduce a roadmap for aviation which sets out how a testing regime can be implemented quickly.
“Doing so could deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for business air travel, boosting economic growth across every region and every sector.”
According to new polling of 515 business leaders by Survation as part of the WPI Strategy report, the majority of UK business leaders see air travel as key to their future economic prospects and would return to the skies if quarantine measures were eased, according to a new report.
Data also underlines the importance of domestic aviation to the UK economy.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the total value of domestic aviation in the UK was in the order of £15 billion.
Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon and chair, APPG on Business Travel, said: “The economic recovery will be led by the business community and the ability to travel will be key.
“Business travel adds huge economic value directly and indirectly on industries like events and conferences amongst many others. I hope the government will prioritise the need to allow safe travel including pre-travel testing and a new quarantine regime so business can get back to travelling and building a strong economic recovery.”