Stansted Airport boss hits out at Government's continuing travel restrictions
The boss of Stansted Airport's owner has accused the Government of "squandering the advantage of our world-leading vaccination programme".
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG (Manchester Airports Group), which also operates Manchester and East Midlands airports, launched his attack after the latest changes to the Department for Transport's Covid-19 classifications for international travel.
It was announced on Thursday (August 26) that seven destinations will be added to the quarantine-free green list from bank holiday Monday (August 30).
They are Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and the Azores. Canada has also moved, but its government has banned British nationals from entering the country.
Thailand and Montenegro are being added to the Government's red list – meaning they are among the highest-risk destinations.
Mr Cornish conceded that the announcement would have a "positive impact" for those holidaying abroad during the remaining days of the summer season.
But he said: "In reality, these changes will make little difference to the overall recovery of the UK travel industry, which is already recovering at less than half the pace of the rest of Europe.
"Europe's stronger recovery has been driven by the removal of testing requirements on vaccinated travellers. Unless the UK also removes the need for people with full immunity to take these tests, we will continue to squander the advantage our world-leading vaccination programme was supposed to deliver, while passengers on the continent travel restriction-free to low-risk destinations.
"Government cannot wait until October 1 to make changes to the travel regime and must press ahead with an overhaul of its traffic light system immediately.
"We must arrive at a simpler, more affordable and sustainable travel framework to enable the best possible winter season and give customers the confidence to book ahead for 2022."
Arrivals from green list countries do not have to quarantine – whether or not they have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. However, they need to be tested before they leave the UK and when they return and fill in a passenger location form.
Fully-vaccinated adults and children do not have to self-isolate on return from amber list countries, but have to test before leaving and when they get back. The testing regime is the same for those who have not been double-jabbed and they also have to quarantine at home for 10 days.
Arrivals from red list countries must pay to quarantine in Government-approved accommodation.