Home   News   Article

Stansted Airport group boss backs 'restarting international travel safely and at the earliest opportunity'




Stansted Airport bosses say a new study paves the way for international travel to resume.

Research carried out by Oxera and Edge Health for the hub's operator, Manchester Airports Group, shows that if Covid-19 case rates this summer are similar to last year, passengers could start travelling to more than 130 countries such as Spain, the USA and Dubai.

That would more than double the number of countries currently on the Government's travel 'green list'.

Stansted Airport terminal (45745043)
Stansted Airport terminal (45745043)

The Oxera and Edge Health modelling shows that because of the extent of the UK's vaccination roll-out, travellers from the UK could now visit overseas destinations with virus prevalence rates three times higher than they were in 2020, without increasing the risk of putting pressure on the NHS.

This is because vaccinations increase immunity in the population, drastically reducing severe illness and leading to a lower rate of transmission (R number).

If the vaccines had been available in 2020 this would have safely increased the number of countries on the list from 62 to 102.

Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pamndemic. .Distancing at Passport control. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745036)
Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pamndemic. .Distancing at Passport control. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745036)

The research also identifies that the addition of pre-departure, high-performing antigen tests would enable safe travel to a range of countries with higher infection rates. Modelling shows that with this form of testing, prevalence rates in other countries could increase by a factor of six to eight with no further impact to risk in the UK.

That would mean almost 30 additional countries could be added to the list, letting passengers travel safely to up to 91% of all countries.

When vaccination programmes in other countries outside of the UK and the vaccination of those aged 17 and below are taken into consideration, the number of possible destinations could rise even further.

The Government's Global Travel Taskforce is set to report on April 12 with recommendations about reopening of international movement from May 17 with a suggested tiered approach to managing risk.

Charlie Cornish (45744936)
Charlie Cornish (45744936)

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said: "Throughout this pandemic, MAG and the wider travel industry has supported the need for strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus and respond to new variants.

"At the same time, the case for restarting international travel safely and at the earliest opportunity is clear. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of economic value hang in the balance, while families are desperate for a hard-earned holiday or to be reunited with loved ones they have been separated from during the most challenging of years.

"The Government's vaccination programme is the envy of the world and this study shows that unlocking travel to a wide range of destinations is one of the many ways in which the British public can benefit from its success.

Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pandemic. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745022)
Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pandemic. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745022)

"This research is a hugely valuable contribution to the work of the Global Travel Taskforce and paves the way for overseas travel to resume as soon as possible.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Taskforce ahead of the publication of its framework next week, and to playing our part in getting Britain flying again and driving our recovery from this pandemic."

Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pandemic. .Social distancing at Passport control. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745031)
Stansted Airport. Preparations for the 'New Normal' during and after the pandemic. .Social distancing at Passport control. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45745031)

Michele Granatstein, a partner at Oxera and head of its aviation practice, said: "The successful roll-out of the UK's vaccination programme, with 32 million people having received a first dose, is crucial to the safe reopening of air travel.

"The vaccines' role in significantly reducing not only the number of hospitalisations and Covid-19 deaths but transmission rates of the virus should give assurance that safe travel to international destinations is within reach.

"Given these promising results, the proposed green list countries could safely be extended this summer."

George Batchelor, co-founder and director of Edge Health, said: "Although the risk of emerging variants remains a concern, none of the variants observed so far has become dominant to SARS-Cov-2 globally. We remain cautiously optimistic that international travel will be attainable within the coming months."



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More