The boss of Manchester Airport Group has criticised the Government over its plans revealed yesterday for restarting International travel
Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO, said: “Many people will be frustrated that today’s announcement by the Transport Secretary does not allow for a broader restart of international travel, with so few countries on the initial green list.
“The aviation industry will be especially concerned that the Government appears to have ignored clear scientific evidence, which shows that testing and vaccinations can support safe travel to a larger group of low-risk destinations.
“The British public will understandably question why our world-leading vaccination programme has not earned them the freedom to travel abroad without expensive and inconvenient tests – a freedom that other governments, including the European Union, will be giving to people who have been vaccinated.
“Aviation supports more than 1m jobs and generates billions of pounds of economic value but is being held back by much tighter controls than any other industry. The industry has been impacted more than any other sector, and we need the same positive recovery plan that other parts of the UK economy have been given.
“It is essential that we see meaningful progress towards restarting international travel at the first review of the green list in the next few weeks, ahead of the peak summer season.
“It is also vital Government explores fairer and smarter ways to protect the UK from variants of concern, removing the need for all arriving passengers to take costly and inconvenient PCR tests and mirroring the approach being taken by other countries.
“A true aviation recovery plan is needed to ensure it can play its part in the recovery of the UK economy as a whole.”
UKHospitality’s CEO, Kate Nicholls OBE, today said: “This cautious and limited return of international travel is a welcome first step on the path out of the pandemic and has clearly been made in receipt of scientific data, ensuring that public health considerations remain the key priority. A pragmatic approach to ensuring that the wider unlocking of hospitality and tourism is key but will hopefully ensure that a wider reopening of the sector is not jeopardised over the summer.
“Levels of travel will clearly be limited compared to pre-Covid times, though, and so it’s imperative that the Government provides targeted support for those businesses with a reliance on tourism.
“The key positive is that the UK is in a position to open up tourism, thanks to the vaccine rollout and testing capacities, and we look forward – in the hope that Covid cases can remain low – to the green list growing and the hospitality and tourism sectors being empowered to drive national economic recovery further.”