Gatwick airport boss: 'Scrap Covid tests for double-jabbed fliers'

Double-jabbed fliers should be free to travel WITHOUT Covid tests says Gatwick airport boss as figures show UK airline numbers bouncing back much slower than rest of Europe

  • Gatwick says passenger numbers in Europe returned to 60% of pre-Covid levels
  • Meanwhile, data shows that passenger numbers in the UK are still only at 30%
  • Bosses say scrapping testing for double-jabbed travellers would be a ‘lifeline’ 

Airport bosses at Gatwick have called for the testing of double jabbed travellers to be scrapped as he says the UK aviation sector is bouncing back much slower than the rest of Europe.

The airport says that comparable data shows the UK is suffering as a result of the requirement.

The current rules mean even those who have been double jabbed and are flying in from a green-list country must provide proof of a negative Covid test within two days of landing in the UK.

The airport says bookings in Europe – where testing regulations are more relaxed – are at 60 per cent of pre-Covid levels while they remain at 30 per cent in the UK.

Bosses at Gatwick have called for the testing of double jabbed travellers to be scrapped

Newly released comparable data shows UK aviation sector is recovering slower than Europe

In a statement, the airport said it was calling on the Government to ‘throw a lifeline’ to the UK aviation industry by removing the requirement for testing altogether for travellers who have been double vaccinated.

The airport says that with proof, double vaccinated travellers can currently enter the majority of European countries without needing to be tested, including in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Germany, among others.

It has proposed that passengers who are not double vaccinated should have to take a lateral flow test and then, if that is positive, take a PCR test.

Quarantine should remain for those flying in from red list countries, it has said.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: ‘With vaccination rates across Europe comparable, if not better, than the UK’s, the time has come for testing to be removed altogether for travellers who have been double jabbed.

‘Other countries have done this and their aviation sectors are recovering much faster with bookings in Europe recovering twice as fast as in the UK.

Gatwick Airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate (pictured) says the travel restrictions are out of step with the rest of Europe and that this is hindering the aviation sector’s recovery

‘Our continued travel restrictions are out of step with much of Europe and continue to have a real impact on jobs and livelihoods, business and growth opportunities while also keeping friends and family apart.

‘Passenger confidence in the UK has been shattered and the UK travel industry urgently needs thrown a lifeline so that we can start to recover properly from the most difficult period in our history.’

Travellers returning to the UK from countries on the government’s green list, as well as fully vaccinated passengers coming from amber countries, must currently pay for a PCR test within two days of arriving in the UK.

Those arriving from amber countries who have not been double-jabbed must pay for tests on days two and eight, as well as self-isolating for 10 days upon entry to the UK.

PCR travel tests, which must be purchased privately from a list of government-approved providers, cost around £75 on average in the UK.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) last month urged No10 to pay for tests for double-jabbed travellers or replace the PCR requirement with cheaper lateral flow tests. 

Pictured: materials in a Covid-19 self-test kit obtained from a drive-through centre in Liverpool

There are dozens of options available for just £20, according to the Government’s list of approved Covid PCR test providers.

But some of the companies listed are actually charging nearly five times that amount.

The WTTC, which represents the global private travel and tourism sector, also warned last week that unless international travel opens up more widely, with simplified controls, the UK is facing a loss of £59.4 billion. 

The WTTC says this is based on 2019 pre-pandemic levels and that it estimates it will be lost from the UK’s economy if travel remains curtailed over the final quarter of 2021 and, furthermore, £8.9billion could be lost purely due to the lack of inbound travel spending within the UK. 

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