A group of British airlines today wrote to the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to ask for a quarantine exemption to be introduced on receipt of a negative COVID-19 test. Exempting those testing negative for COVID-19 upon arrival into the country would allow the UK’s aviation industry to begin to recover.
Around the world, passenger demand is slowly rebuilding. However, things are recovering at varying rates in different countries. Airlines within the UK are finding it harder to stimulate demand recovery and manage capacity due to the nation’s strict and quick-moving 14-day quarantine rules.
Letter to Boris Johnson
A group of airlines headed by the British aviation industry group, Airlines UK, today wrote to Boris Johnson regarding the national approach to arrivals from high-risk countries. Currently, all those arriving from a ‘high-risk’ state, as identified by the United Kingdom, must quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
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The implementation of this policy has caused some concern. In particular, some countries have been added to the high-risk list with barely any warning. Passengers arriving from Spain were given four hours warning that quarantine measures would be brought in. Meanwhile, around 28 hours were given before France was added, causing a dash to the ports and airports as those on holiday scrambled to return home.
According to the Daily Mail, in the letter to Boris Johnson, airlines including British Airways, TUI, easyJet, and Virgin Atlantic, said,
“We recognise there isn’t a single international approach, but we believe a UK testing protocol based on the German model would stimulate significant demand while protecting public health. It would play a critical role both in supporting US-UK connectivity but also in safeguarding connections with key European and other global markets”
The German approach
The group mentioned that a testing protocol similar to the German model would help to stimulate travel demand. Germany is one of the countries leading the way in regards to COVID-19 testing of travelers.
All passengers landing in Germany from a high-risk country are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival. That is, if they haven’t received a recognized test before departure. They must then wait in quarantine until their test results have been delivered.
However, the testing initiative doesn’t just apply to high-risk arrivals. Those arriving from low-risk countries can also take the test within 72 hours of arrival. The German state is paying for the COVID-19 tests, thereby removing the financial burden for travelers.
Heathrow ready for testing
Simple Flying previously reported that London Heathrow was already ready to implement COVID-19 testing, and was waiting for the nod from the government. However, this nod is yet to arrive. The airport has already found a testing partner and is ready to set up the infrastructure in an arrivals area of Terminal 2.
Simple Flying has contacted Airlines UK for comment regarding this story.
Should the UK follow in Germany’s footprints with regards to testing arrivals from high-risk countries? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!