“Today’s government announcement confirming the list green countries is another very small step forward to safely resuming international travel from 17 May onward. The initial list is disappointing offering a limited number of destinations being placed on the green list. With the world-wide vaccination programme we expect more countries to be added to the green list in the coming months. This will provide surety and confidence to customers in arranging the long-awaited family visit, a well-deserved holiday or business trip.
“Safety and security of our customers and colleagues remains our key priority and is at the forefront of all planning and preparations we have in place in readiness for Monday 17 May. We will continue to work closely with airlines, the government, Department for Transport and Public Health England on the latest information as it becomes available.
“The aviation sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Bristol Airport, along with airports across the UK, has never had the opportunity to recover during what continues to be the most challenging period in our history. Providing the safe return of international travel plays a vital role in the region’s economic recovery and protects jobs now and in the future from the impact of this devastating pandemic.”
AOA’s response to government announcement.
Missed opportunity with so few countries on green list
As AOA research shows that the 12 green-listed countries accounted for just 5.5% of passengers in July-August 2019, Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee responded to the Government’s announcement of the green list:
“UK airports are ready to welcome back passengers from 17 May, with high levels of health and hygiene measures in place, and we welcome confirmation that international travel will resume. Given the success of the UK’s vaccine roll-out, it is disappointing that so few countries are on the green list. This is not yet the meaningful, four-nation restart UK airports and the economy need.
“Aviation is essential to connect families who have not been able to meet for so long, to provide well-earned holidays, and for businesses to reach new and existing customers abroad. To ensure this can restart effectively, the UK Government must play its part by adding countries to the green list, making testing more affordable, through the use of widely available rapid tests, and by simplifying the processes and providing sufficient resource at the border. The unacceptable queues passengers experience at the border in some airports put passenger welfare and safety and security in UK airports at risk.
“Pre-pandemic around a million UK jobs were supported by UK aviation so a full recovery must be a priority for Government. Ministers need to use the upcoming reviews to reduce restrictions for fully vaccinated people, just as the EU and the US are planning. This is particularly important for restarting the UK’s inbound tourism sector.”