Airlinechiefs yesterday urged Boris Johnson to take a positive stance to allow Britons to go on holiday abroad this summer.
They said the country was in desperate need of a break after nearly a year of restrictions and called on the prime minister to put international travel on his roadmap outside of lockdown.
They called for a tiered approach to vaccine deployment that would gradually see travel restrictions such as quarantine disappear for travel to low-risk countries.
They also backed ‘vaccine passports’ and said they should exempt vaccinees from pre-flight testing and quarantine.
The move comes as Greece’s Tourism Minister said talks are underway with British officials, offering a glimmer of hope for the Mediterranean vacation this summer.
Harry Theoharis said discussions on returning to a “ semi-normal summer ” would focus on the use of vaccine passports.
Airline chiefs yesterday urged Boris Johnson to take a positive stance to allow Britons to go on vacation abroad this summer. They said the country was in desperate need of a break after nearly a year of restrictions and called on the prime minister to put international travel on his roadmap outside of lockdown. Pictured: Planes on the ground at Manchester Airport [File photo]
Spain, the Canary Islands and Cyprus have also expressed interest in such documents to get their tourism industries back on track.
At a group press conference yesterday, executives from easyJet, Tui, Virgin Atlantic, Jet2 and Loganair said that not including international travel in Mr Johnson’s plan to ease the announced lockdown Monday would be devastating for Britons hoping for a summer getaway, and the uncertainty could destroy tens of thousands more jobs.
David Burling, CEO of TUI’s airline business, said: “What we need most of all from government is a positive attitude. We recognize the difficulties and the need to balance the risk ”.
He called for a tiered system that would allow people to go abroad “after what has been quite frankly a pretty miserable year for most people”.
“You cannot underestimate how essential planning and waiting for this summer vacation is for people,” he added.
The pandemic has cost around 100,000 aviation jobs so far and British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, TUI and Ryanair have collectively published pre-tax losses of over $ 5 billion. [File photo]
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com, said: “ We are a huge provider of jobs and a huge contributor to the national tax intake. It doesn’t make sense for an industry of this size not to be included.
CEOs said the quarantine system should end first. Currently, all arrivals in England must be quarantined for ten days, in a hotel if they have been in a high risk ‘red list’ country and at home for other destinations. In Scotland everyone has to go to a hotel.
The pandemic has cost around 100,000 aviation jobs so far and British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, TUI and Ryanair have collectively published pre-tax losses of more than $ 5 billion.
A new action group of more than 500 UK travel agencies called Save Our Summer launched a campaign earlier this week to warn that up to 2.5 million more jobs are at risk.
VisitBritain also expects the drop in inbound tourism to lead to a $ 23 billion drop in revenue this year from 2019 figure.
No refund for 2m who could not take the flights
About 2.3 million people have not been reimbursed for flights they were unable to board during the pandemic, it emerged.
Search by whom? found that many were left behind for flights that were not canceled despite circumstances often meaning they could not reasonably or legally travel, such as lockdowns, the Foreign Office’s advice against unauthorized travel essentials and restrictions in place at destinations.
By law, passengers are entitled to a full refund within seven days if their flight is canceled, but regulations currently offer no protection to passengers if their flight is not canceled.
The Autorité de la concurrence et des marchés is investigating whether airlines are infringing on the rights of passengers’ consumers by refusing refunds.