Plotting a path to restriction-free travel is essential to the total revival of the ailing aviation sector.
That was the message delivered right now by MAG, as the biggest airport group within the UK, because it revealed figures exhibiting passenger numbers had been down 90 per cent throughout the primary 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Such a roadmap ought to be based mostly on better cooperation between the UK authorities and its abroad counterparts, to share details about the emergence of latest Covid-19 variants of concern and get rid of the necessity for travellers to take costly PCR exams on their return.
Currently, the UK authorities proposes that every one passengers – even these getting back from the bottom threat ‘inexperienced’ locations – must take a PCR check, so it may possibly collect knowledge that can assist with genomic sequencing.
MAG mentioned this might be averted if governments labored collectively on sequencing and sharing knowledge on variants.
The testing requirement is a part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s ‘site visitors mild’ framework, introduced final week, which categorises nations as purple, amber or inexperienced based mostly on the chance related to visiting them.
Subject to ultimate affirmation, it’s set to come back into play on May seventeenth, the earliest date non-essential travel can resume.
MAG – the proprietor of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports – mentioned that the framework ought to be improved urgently to incorporate a fourth, restriction-free class capitalising on the success of the vaccination programme.
Doing so would take away vital private price to passengers and inject much-needed confidence into the UK aviation sector forward of what is going to be a important summer season.
The dramatic downturn aviation has skilled was laid naked in MAG’s annual passenger figures, which confirmed that in comparison with March 2020, MAG served 93 per cent fewer passengers in March 2021, and that its rolling 12-month passenger whole is down 89 per cent.
In March 2019, MAG served greater than 4 million passengers, in comparison with March 2021 when it served 140,000 – a 97 per cent lower.
Manchester Airport dealt with simply 95,798 passengers in March 2021, 89.8% down on the 942,900 it dealt with 12 months earlier.
At Stansted, the determine was 44,259 this March, in contrast with over 800,000 a yr earlier – a 95 per cent drop.
At East Midlands Airport, the airport served simply 71 passengers for the entire of March this yr, towards 106,529 in 2020.
Charlie Cornish, chief govt, MAG mentioned: “The UK authorities is among the many first to have set out proposals for a system that permits worldwide travel to renew and ought to be applauded for taking the lead.
“After greater than a yr of just about whole shutdown – and with so many roles and a lot financial worth at stake – it’s actually vital we get folks shifting once more as soon as it’s secure to take action.
“We now want Government to substantiate the May seventeenth begin date as quickly as attainable, together with the record of nations that fall into every ‘site visitors mild’ class.”
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