The operator behind Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has criticised the narrow pool of ‘green list’ countries announced to not require quarantine on arrival in the UK.
The government has announced plans to allow international leisure travel to resume from 17th May, along with indoor hospitality and other activities outlined in the February roadmap. MAG CEO Charlie Cornish (pictured), expressed his frustration with the rules, which will see just 12 countries and territories included on the ‘green list‘ where no quarantine period will be necessary on return to England, including Australia and New Zealand that are currently not accepting foreign visitors.
Previous analysis conducted on behalf of MAG earlier this year estimated that the pace of vaccination in the UK could allow a much wider pool of destinations to be low risk for British holidaymakers compared to last summer.
In a statement responding the Transport Secretary’s announcement of new travel rules, the airport operator also reiterated its calls for further support for the aviation industry as it continues to be economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 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.”
The full-list of countries and territories included on the green list, as well as quarantine rules for other destinations are available on the government website.