Airlines urge Boris Johnson to give them green light for international travel

4 April 2021, 11:05 | Updated: 4 April 2021, 15:41

Chief executives from the UK's leading airlines have written to the Prime Minister
Chief executives from the UK's leading airlines have written to the Prime Minister. Picture: PA

By Sam Sholli

The UK's leading airlines have called on the prime minister to give them the green light for international travel within weeks.

The request to Boris Johnson was made by chief executives from British Airways, EasyJet,, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic, as well as trade body Airlines UK.

Ministers have repeatedly stated that the ban on foreign travel will be in place until at least 17 May.

The airline chiefs said in the letter, which was published by The Sun, that they recognised restriction-free universal travel may not be possible by that date.

“However there can be no economic recovery without aviation, and we are confident we now have the tools to enable a safe and meaningful restart to travel in May – allowing us to return to our job of reuniting friends and family, supporting trade and business and allowing Britons to enjoy a well-earned break again,” the letter stated.

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The letter added: “We believe vaccinated passengers should not be subject to travel restrictions and that testing can also reduce the barriers to travel including for areas that are considered to present some risk. Only very high-risk areas would be subject to more stringent measures”

Meanwhile, Downing Street has confirmed that a risk-based "traffic light" system will be introduced for foreign travel as restrictions relax.

However, despite the announcement, people in England are still being advised by the government not to book summer holidays abroad.

The new "traffic light" system will come into force from 17 May at the earliest and will replace the current "Stay in the UK" regulations which make all leisure travel illegal.

When travel is permitted, a red, amber or green rating will be assigned to countries, with covid tests required pre-departure and post-arrival from all destinations.

Travel from green countries will not require quarantine, while arrivals from red and amber countries will still be required to quarantine or self-isolate upon arrival.