The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has called on Transport Secretary Grant Schapps to get the UK flying again through the use of airport COVID-19 testing.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton has written to the Secretary of State asking him to urgently approve testing facilities as an alternative to “punitive” automatic 14-day quarantine for inbound passengers.
Quarantine “killing aviation and international trade”
Strutton’s letter said the current measures were damaging to the whole of the UK economy. He called for the urgent approval of airport COVID testing as an alternative to “punitive quarantine measures which are killing aviation, travel and international trade. On this I believe the whole industry is united.”
The letter added that more than 30 other countries around the world had adopted a system of airport testing and then quarantining and monitoring those who test positive which he said also “boosts passenger confidence in travelling.
“On the edge of survival”
Calling for more government support for the sector, Strutton added that thousands of jobs were already being lost within the travel and aviation industries with livelihoods being destroyed and companies “on the edge of survival.”
He continued: “Allowing testing as an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine periods for incoming passengers from higher-risk areas would be a sensible and effective measure. Currently potential passengers are being discouraged from travelling because of the likelihood of being unable to go to work or take their children to school on their return. Allowing airport testing as an alternative to that would change those perceptions. Indeed, many passengers would welcome the clarity that a COVID test can bring.”
Government reaction is “lamentable”
“We do not blame the Government for Covid, but the Government’s reaction to its effect on the travel industry has been lamentable,” he said. “Even at this stage, you can help by changing course on airport testing – tens of thousands of aviation workers are relying on you to do so.