Bosses of UK airlines push for reopening international travel

Shutterstock / Rich Higgins

Britain’s airlines call for a plan to slowly restart international travel as the country’s lockdown is about to ease.

On February 18, 2021, chief executives of British Airways, Easyjet, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair, and TUI wrote to UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson to include plans for the restart of international travel in a scheme for the easing of lockdown. The letter was also signed by the chiefs of Jet2, Loganair, and aviation body Airlines UK.

“We need a clear statement on the path for international travel in the prime minister’s announcement,” said easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren. “The government has suggested that every other sector which includes hospitality, retail, and leisure, that it will be a roadmap for these sectors out on February  22, and international travel must be included as well.”

Currently, UK’s airlines are among the hardest-hit carriers by travel restrictions in Europe. Beginning from February 15, 2021, passengers arriving from a “red list” country must quarantine in a state-approved hotel for 10 days, in addition to having proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to the flight.

“The aviation industry stands with the Government in putting public health at the top of its agenda, but the future of the British economy and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people are at risk without a sensible and structured plan to safely restart international travel over the coming months,” said Sean Doyle, the chief executive of British Airways.

“Aviation, and free movement of people and goods, are crucial to the UK’s economic recovery and the emergence of a truly Global Britain as it recovers from the crisis,” added Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss.

Airlines UK have previously called for a plan to reopen UK borders as vaccine rollout is gaining momentum and infection rates are slowing down. It warned that without such a plan, the airlines will need a financial support package from the government.


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