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3 AUGUST 2020


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Article from BTNews 3 AUGUST 2020

Airlines write to the PM

Nearly 50 airline and airport bosses have signed a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to replace blanket quarantine measures for high-risk countries per se, with ‘bubble areas’ typically the Balearics and Majorca where the infection rate is very low.

The letter, co-ordinated by Airlines UK on behalf of all the elements that make up the UK transport industry, comes after the Government re-introduced blanket quarantine requirements for the whole of Spain.  Travel companies argue the restrictions are too harsh given Spain’s recent spike in coronavirus cases has largely been limited to certain cities and regions on the mainland.

The quick return from holiday by Transport Minister Grant Shapps, and confirmation by Willie Walsh in his BBC interview (see this week’s BTN) of a conversation with him indicates that the Government is very aware of the problem.  Hopefully Shapps will be a voice of reason at Cabinet level although at the end of day the medical voice will prevail.

According to the letter, the move risks ‘permanently scarring’ the travel industry, with the sudden imposition of quarantine damaging consumer confidence. The Business Travel Association said earlier this week that the news means corporates are unlikely to be confident enough to return to travelling this year.

The aviation bosses said establishing regional travel corridors could also support the resumption of travel between the US and UK, which is seen as a key factor in the recovery of both airlines and the wider economy.

The letter also calls for passengers to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival to the UK, with those returning a negative result allowed to skip the self-isolation period.

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