UK airlines, holiday companies plan actions against travel restrictions

Photo: EPA

Britain's airlines and holiday companies are planning a "day of action" on Wednesday to ramp up pressure on the government to ease travel restrictions, Reuters reported. Travel companies, whose finances have been stretched to breaking point during the pandemic, are desperate to avoid another summer lost to Covid-19. But with Britain's strict quarantine requirements still in place that now looks likely.

As the clock ticks down to July, Europe's biggest airline Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group on Thursday launched legal action to try to get the government to ease the rules before the industry's most profitable season starts. On Wednesday, 23 June, pilots, cabin crew and travel agents will gather in Westminster, central London, and at airports across Britain to try to drum up support.

Britain's aviation industry has been harder hit by the pandemic than its European peers, according to data published by pilots trade union BALPA on Sunday. That showed daily arrivals and departures into the UK were down 73% on an average day earlier this month compared to before the pandemic, the biggest drop in Europe. Spain, Greece and France were down less than 60%.

UK airports were also badly affected, with traffic in and out of London's second busiest airport Gatwick down 92%, according to the data.

The government had to balance the risks of foreign holidays bringing new variants of the virus into Britain, justice minister Robert Buckland told the BBC. Public Health England official Susan Hopkins said people should predominantly holiday at home this summer while the population is vaccinated.

But time is running out for the industry, said the union. "There is no time to hide behind task forces and reviews," said BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton. "BALPA is demanding that the UK Government gets its act together and opens the US routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked with no published evidence at all."

Over 45,000 jobs have already been lost in UK aviation, with estimates suggesting that 860,000 aviation, travel and tourism jobs are being sustained only by government furlough schemes.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles

  • UK starts replacing EU regulations

    UK starts replacing EU regulations

    Britain is to begin replacing or scrapping EU regulations that were copied into British law before EU divorcet, Brexit minister David Frost said. To avoid uncertainty and confusion as Britain left the EU after 40 years, the government automatically carried thousands of EU laws and regulations into British law so that they would still apply after Brexit.

    56
  • UK’s PM Johnson replaces foreign secretary in Cabinet shake-up

    UK’s PM Johnson replaces foreign secretary in Cabinet shake-up

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demoted his top diplomat and fired his education minister in a major government shakeup Wednesday, as he tried to move on from a series of political missteps and revive his promise to “level up” prosperity across the UK, AP reported. In the biggest move, Johnson demoted Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has faced criticism for delaying his return from a holiday in Greece as the Taliban took over Afghanistan last month.

    64
  • UK recommends Covid-19 booster shots for over 50s

    UK recommends Covid-19 booster shots for over 50s

    The UK will offer a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine to everyone over age 50 and other vulnerable people after an expert panel said the boosters were needed to protect against waning immunity this winter, AP reported. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers on Tuesday that the government had accepted the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization and would start offering booster shots next week. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy nations to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their populations.

    65