Boris Johnson has today said that he wants the testing system for international travel to be cheap and easy, after concerns were raised about the current cost of such arrangements.
Under current plans, international travel is set to restart again on 17 May, although the government has warned that the date could yet be pushed back.
When it does restart, destinations will be classified according to a traffic light system, with the least restrictions for those countries on the “green” list.
Although there will be no quarantine arrangement for people returning from such countries, they will likely need to take Covid tests before departure and return.
At the moment, PCR tests can cost up to £200 each. Easyjet’s boss Johan Lundgren said such plans could make travel prohibitively expensive for many travellers.
When asked about his comments, Johnson said: “I do think we want to make things as easy as we possibly can.
“The boss of EasyJet is right to focus on this issue, we’re going to see what we can do to make things as flexible and as affordable as possible.”
“I do want to see international travel start up again. We have to be realistic. We can’t do it immediately. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve given up on May 17.”
Also today, a group of aviation bosses, including the chief execs of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways called on Johnson to make sure that the US was on the UK’s “green list” as soon as travel restarts again.
“The global success of our respective vaccination programmes, coupled with proportionate testing regimes can open these vital links between the two, and form the international basis for a post pandemic movement of people and goods, ahead of the G7 in June”, Virgin boss Shai Weiss said.
They cited the success of the US’ vaccination programme, as well as the economic links between the two nations, as justification for the step.
The government’s Global Travel Taskforce will make its recommendations for the safe restart of travel on Monday.