Travel Rule Changes ‘Positive’, Say Airlines

Travel Rule Changes ‘Positive’, Say Airlines
The relaxation of travel restrictions in England will give airlines a "shot in the arm", an industry group has said.

The relaxation of travel restrictions in England will give airlines a “shot in the arm,” an industry group has said.

Airlines UK welcomed the government simplifying the traffic light system and reducing testing requirements.

It said it “moves us much closer to the reopening of UK aviation”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes would enable more people to travel around the world.

From 4 October the amber and green lists will be scrapped in England, leaving a single red list that has been downsized.

People who have had both jabs will not need to take a pre-departure test before leaving any country, not on the red list. They will also be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper, rapid lateral flow test.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “This is a positive step which moves us much closer to the reopening of UK aviation and provides greater reassurance to passengers desperate to travel.

“By reducing the number of red list destinations and scrapping PCR testing, ministers have paved the way for people to get away this October half-term and into the winter following 18 months of uncertainty.

“It will provide a real shot in the arm for a sector that until now has not been allowed to trade properly.”

Thomas Cook said it expected the coming weekend to be its best for sales in 2021, adding that customers “are booking in droves”.

“Based on our bookings already today, I would expect this weekend to be the biggest of the year so far as people take advantage of the great deals on offer, the new easier rules on testing, and the simplified system for international travel,” said David Child, head of PR and brand at the travel firm.

‘Illogical system’

The travel and tourism sectors have been among the hardest hit by the Covid pandemic.
Globally they have lost 62 million jobs, the World Travel and Tourism Council says.

“We are pleased to see the back of an illogical traffic light system that caused confusion and distress for travelers,” said Julia Simpson, its president, and chief executive.

“While this is certainly a step in the right direction, for the UK to be real leaders, the government should adopt a system based on the risk of individuals, not countries.”

The changes “remove some of the layers of complexity and expense UK holidaymakers have faced this summer”, said Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK.

‘Simpler system’

He said Tui had already seen an increase in bookings for Turkey and destinations “for those looking to enjoy some winter sun” in October.

However, the red list should be reduced further, he said.

Virgin Atlantic said: “We urge the UK Government to use the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to the USA to work with the Biden administration to remove transatlantic restrictions for UK citizens, just as the UK has done for US travelers.”

Grant Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system.

“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than eight in ten adults fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”