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22 NOVEMBER 2021

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Article from BTNews 22 NOVEMBER 2021

House of Commons Select Committee

Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), does seem to enjoy appearing before the UK Parliament’s Transport Select Committee.

Without shareholders to appease the former International Airlines Group (IAG) chief was outspoken, backed up by Airlines UK boss Tim Alderslade and leader of the Airport Operators Association (AOA) Karen Dee who trod the same path but was more solicitous.

Walsh said the UK’s international travel rules have “suppressed demand” and caused “great confusion” noting that even fully vaccinated travellers must pay for a lateral flow test after they arrive.

“There’s no justification for the continued use of these tests based on the data,” he said.

“The recovery is definitely being hampered by the bureaucracy associated with UK travel, where a lot of other countries have simplified their procedures.

“Where we see restrictions relaxed or removed, there’s an immediate response in terms of passenger demand, and that’s been witnessed right across the world.”

Asked by Committee Chairman Huw Merriman if the UK’s regulations are solely responsible for its aviation sector lagging behind European competitors, Walsh replied: “I think it’s a fair comment. It’s definitely suppressed demand. It’s caused great confusion for customers.”

Tim Alderslade, told the Committee that the UK is “clearly lagging behind.  We had that lost summer with heavy restrictions when Europe was surging ahead and unlocking quicker than the UK.”

Karen Dee said the UK’s system is “still much more restrictive than it is in Europe.”

She went on: “We still have a testing requirement, a PLF (passenger locator form) requirement, that is more stringent and more onerous on passengers.

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/153/transport-committee

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