Travel industry workers will protest in Westminster today during a day of action to pressure the UK Government to change course and reopen international travel.
The UK aviation industry is the hardest hit in Europe by restrictions on international travel, which has effectively ruined summer holiday plans for thousands of Brits.
Protests will be held outside the House of Commons, as well as outisde Holyrood and Stormont.
Derek Jones, CEO of high end travel angecy Kuoni said:“The outbound travel sector has been decimated by this pandemic and by the Government’s haphazard response to it.
“Today, we have joined together to call upon Ministers to acknowledge that the restrictions they have placed on international travel are having a deep and devastating impact on travel businesses. We are united in one message today: we want to see the safe re-opening of international travel alongside targeted financial support for businesses which have not been able to trade for well over a year.”
The UK’s traffic light system for travel has proved so controversial that Ryanair, Stansted airport owner MAG, Tui and British Airways are taking the Government to court over it.
Travel industry lobby group ABTA estimates that as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry.
BA recently put more staff back on furlough after changes to the traffic light designation of Portugal, which went from the green list to the amber list, meaning returnees to the UK would need to self-isolate for 10 days.
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, and aviation industry group, said it was “now or never” to reopen travel.
“It is now or never for the Government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season, not just for families desperate to get away but the tens of thousands of jobs which rely upon this once thriving sector.
“Airlines are at the absolute limit of what they can borrow and without a genuine reopening this summer they will require Government support to survive.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday the UK Government was “looking into” allowing fully vaccinated Brits to avoid self-isolating when coming home from amber list countries, but not until August.
Brian Strutton, acting general secretary of pilots union Balpa said the Government should follow the science:
“With a robust and open approach to the data we should be able to use the science to open-up safe travel routes with the US and many European destinations, just as other European countries have done. This would give the travel industry and passengers a chance to make something the best of the summer and start to stem the decline.
The Balpa boss added: “Extending the furlough scheme and direct support to airlines and airports would save jobs and companies as we head into the winter, so that we have a leisure and business travel industry ready to bounce back quickly post-pandemic.”
The protest comes on the same day that airline shares jumped in mornign trading on the hope if an expanded green list and reduced quarantine measures for arrivals from holiday favourites such as Spain, Greece and Italy.
The Mail also reported that the Balearic islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca could be moved to the UK’s green list tomorrow, boosting the hopes of airlines and travekl companies of a summer holidays revival.