Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association have said the latest government restrictions announced yesterday will deepen the crisis within the aviation sector and worsen the outlook for 2021.

The industry associations were reacting to new international travel restrictions for passengers arriving in the UK yesterday. Travellers from “Red list” countries would be have to undergo mandatory government-managed hotel quarantine on arrival for 10 days at a cost of up to £1,750 per passenger. They will also have to undertake COVID-19 tests on day two and day eight of their quarantine period.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended the introduction of 10-year jail sentences for those who lie about their travel at the UK border as “appropriate”.

Anyone who tries to conceal that they have been in a “red list” country in the 10 days before their arrival in the UK will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The tough penalty, which has caused concern among some MPs and former judges, has been defended by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Two-week review clause is “essential”

Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association and Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “Whilst public health must come first, this latest measure means all travellers to the UK will need to take three tests in addition to quarantine. It adds a further barrier to viable air travel and deepens the worsening 2021 outlook for our sector, which has already been largely grounded for a year.”

“A two-week review clause is essential to ensure that the current complex, blanket set of measures are rolled-back as soon as it is safe to do so. International travel must also be part of the Prime Minister’s forthcoming roadmap out of lockdown, including transparent and risk-based health criteria for the lifting of travel restrictions.”

The Chief Executives also renewed their previous call for urgent government support for the sector to ensure its survival. They added: “In the meantime, airports and airlines are battling to survive with almost zero revenue and a huge cost base, and practically every week a further blow lands. Aviation-specific financial support is urgently needed to ensure our sector can get through the year. UK aviation can be the conduit to the Government’s Global Britain and levelling-up agendas but only if we have viable and competitive sector still standing come the end of the pandemic.”

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