Friday 14 May 2021 10:55 am

Airline industry calls on the UK to lift borders like the EU

Germany, Spain and Holland became the latest European nations to lift the shutters on travel restrictions yesterday, as the airline industry called on the UK to do the same.

Still placing tough restrictions on arrivals, the UK has received calls from Ryanair and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) for more clarity on travel.

Ireland’s travel restrictions are now “outdated”, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson urged, as the impacts of the UK and Europe’s vaccination programmes have been seen in reduced infections rates.

“Thanks to the success of the UK’s vaccine program, there is no justification for requiring visitors to Ireland from the UK, our major visitor market, to quarantine,” Wilson said.

 “The vast majority of the UK adult population have now received their first dose vaccination, and therefore pose no threat or risk to Ireland’s hospitals or health service.”

EU

From yesterday, Germany will allow anyone with double vaccinations, without a PCR test, even if they come from an “amber” listed country.

Travellers will not have to endure quarantine, while any incoming passenger who requires a test will be able to have one for free.

Topping that, Spain and the Netherlands have begun allowing holidaymakers from countries with low infection rates to enter without having to do a PCR test or prove their vaccination status.

“Passengers all over Europe have been booking Ryanair flights in huge volumes over recent weeks as travel restrictions are lifted,” Wilson said, adding that “it is inappropriate and unnecessary for Ireland to maintain its unique, and ineffective hotel quarantine system for EU visitors, the majority of whom will now be vaccinated, coming from the UK and Europe.”

PCR tests on or before the second day of arrival in the UK are necessary for anyone from a “green” list country, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

Only 12 countries or regions are currently on the hallowed green list including Portugal, Israel, Gibraltar and Iceland.

Incoming passengers from a higher risk amber listed country, which covers much of Europe, need to quarantine for 10 days and have two PCR tests on days two and eight of their self-isolation.

“The latest announcement from Portugal highlights the lack of international cooperation. It’s hard to see any coordination across the UK let alone in Europe and around the globe,” BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton, said.

“People need clarity, certainty and the confidence to book travel without the goalposts constantly moving. We need concrete re-opening dates and the re-opening of the US-UK corridor because the sector can’t survive endlessly with no plan in sight.”

Chair of the all-party Future of Aviation group, Henry Smith, told the Telegraph that the moves by other EU countries highlighted “the very real risk that our overly cautious reopening risks leaving the UK recovery behind and places UK aviation at a competitive disadvantage. 

“Our aviation and travel industries will be vital to our economic recovery and placing them at a competitive disadvantage to our competitors makes no sense whatsoever and this must be considered at the highest levels of government ahead of the first review point.”

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