Island corridors are mixed blessing Ian Taylor

Industry leaders welcomed the regional travel corridors policy announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps on Monday but privately expressed growing anger at the government. A senior airline source told

Travel Weekly: “It was a negative announcement packaged as positive.” Shapps told MPs: “We now have

the data and capacity to add and remove islands from the quarantine policy.” But the only change was to impose restrictions on travellers returning from the islands of Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos and Zante from 4am on Wednesday.

The move followed the break-up

of a UK-wide quarantine policy after Scotland imposed 14-day self- isolation on returnees from Greece from Thursday of last week and Wales imposed restrictions initially on arrivals from Zante before adding six more Greek islands and mainland Portugal. The airline source said: “The

government’s decision was driven by the need to remove those islands and rushed through because Wales split away.” At the same time, Shapps stressed

those flouting quarantine rules face criminal charges and pledged to raise the penalties, saying: “If you don’t quarantine for 14 days, it’s a criminal of- fence. Enforcement will be stepped up.” Asked to consider switching

The government

has not grasped the seriousness of the crisis in the sector

changes to the corridors list from 4am on Saturday to midnight on Sunday, Shapps said: “The medical community says ‘do it immediately, don’t leave any time’.” An aviation source said: “We

are grateful quarantine will be regionalised. We understand the government was looking at the Canaries, the Balearics and the Portuguese islands to see if they could be excluded from quarantine, but there wasn’t time.

“[But] the industry can’t sustain

much more of this. The government has not grasped the seriousness of the crisis in the sector. If we’re to benefit from any financial support, it needs to come now.” The furlough scheme ends in

October and the source warned: “Airports have a large proportion of staff on furlough, some up to 60%. Without support, those people won’t have jobs to come back to.” An industry source said: “The

government has looked at island corridors, but it should look further – in line with what it’s doing with local lockdowns. Germany and the Netherlands have fully regional corridor policies. We should move away from quarantine for whole countries.”

‘Show ministers depth of support for travel restart’

Ian Taylor

Travel was urged to “make its voice heard” ahead of Parliamentary debates on aviation, tourism and Covid on Thursday to ensure urgent government action on quarantine and support for businesses. The Save Future Travel Coalition

called on industry members to lobby MPs ahead of the debate, with Abta director of public affairs Luke Petherbridge saying “show the government the depth of support for getting travel restarted”.

4 10 SEPTEMBER 2020 Support for the sector hit new

heights after two national newspapers launched campaigns to get travel restarted on their front pages – The Telegraph with ‘Test4Travel’ and the Daily Mail with ‘Get Britain Flying Again’ – and backing from the Labour Party and more than 80 MPs in the Future of Aviation group. Abta is working with Airlines UK,

the Airport Operators Association and Iata alongside the Future of Aviation Group as well as with the Save Future Travel Coalition of Aito, Advantage, the SPAA, the Business


Abta’s Luke Petherbridge

Claire Irvin, The Telegraph

Weekly’s Ian Taylor


Alexander, industry consultant

Travel Association, UKinbound and the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers. Petherbridge said: “We’d like the

regionalisation of quarantine policy, testing to reopen more destinations around the world, and an APD holiday to incentivise people back into the air in the same way Eat Out to Help Out incentivised people back to restaurants. “We want support for small to

medium-sized businesses – like retail grants and an extension of business rates relief and VAT deferrals into next year – and ongoing salary

support. We know the furlough scheme is ending, but salary support in some way is going to be necessary if we want to retain jobs.” Speaking on a Travel Weekly

webcast, Petherbridge said: “The government is likely to take a tailored approach to industries that face a prolonged recovery. We need a concerted push. We’ve got the Budget coming up, which is likely to be when the government announces the next economic support package, and we need to make a push ahead of that. It’s important we make our voices heard.”

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