Friday 26 February 2021 12:01 am

London City boss joins calls for global approach to lifting travel restrictions

The boss of London City airport has today joined calls for the government to lead the way in implementing a set of “globally recognised travel standards” to get the capital thriving again.

His comments came as business body London First said the government should champion measures allowing visitors with either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to visit the country.

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Supporting the campaign, City chief exec Robert Sinclair called for new support for the aviation sector to be announced at next week’s budget.

The body proposed business rates relief for airports and allowing international rail operators such as Eurostar access to the same financing options as airlines.

It also said that the government should maintain the furlough scheme for as long as travel bans and passenger quarantine measures remain in place.

He also said that ministers should reveal their roadmap for restarting international travel as soon as possible.

On Monday Boris Johnson said that travel could begin again from 17 May. A Department for Transport-led body, the Global Travel Taskforce, is looking into how to do so safely.

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Sinclair said that aviation was crucial to London’s future as a global city. “Aviation has helped London thrive. And looking to the future, it can again by helping the city take the lead in low carbon travel”, he said.

“But in the here and now, the situation is grave and if we are to thrive again, we need sector specific support from Government in the Budget and a clear roadmap, in advance of the proposed travel restart of May 17th, on how quarantine will be reduced and ultimately replaced by a set of globally recognised travel standards.”

London First said that the new global travel framework should build on the travel corridors policy to create a risk-based, tiered structure of location-specific travel restrictions.

John Dickie, director of strategy and policy at London First, said: “London is Britain’s front door for international tourists and global investors alike.  Without urgent action from the Government to support the aviation sector, the UK is in danger of losing the connectivity, which is critical to our post-Brexit, post-pandemic prospects.

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“An approach for travellers based on a combination of vaccination or proof of a negative test, is at the heart of unlocking international travel.”

The campaign also has the support of Heathrow Airport, as well as aviation body Airlines UK.