A coalition of aviation and tourism bodies and business organisations are backing the idea of the UK establishing air bridges to low-risk COVID-19 countries.

The Sunday Telegraph has reported that the groups have written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying plans for a blanket 14-day quarantine will cause major damage to UK trade.

The possibility of air bridges has been raised in Parliament by transport secretary Grant Shapps, but last week it was confirmed the two-week quarantine for arrivals to the UK will start on June 8.

The Sunday Telegraph says it has seen a letter to Boris Johnson from Airlines UK, the Federation of Small Businesses, Make UK, UKHospitality and the British Chambers of Commerce.

It says the industry bodies are concerned that quarantine will push Britain to the back of the queue when it comes to countries re-opening their borders as the pandemic recedes.

The newspaper says there is a cabinet split on the idea of air bridges, which would be established through agreements with countries that have coronavirus infection rates under control.

Quoting from the letter, the Sunday Telegraph reported the industry bodies “have serious reservations about a blanket approach to all arrivals”.

It added: “This approach would have significant consequences for the UK’s tourism and hospitality industry, and any sector of the economy which relies on air connectivity for their supply chains, recruitment and exports.

“We urgently ask the government to set out how it will move to a more targeted approach, such as air bridges.”

The Sunday Telegraph claims government issued an edict to airline industry leaders not to publicly denounce the quarantine plans.

Ryanair chief executive Micheal O’Leary described it as “bonkers” and predicted it would lifted shortly after being imposed once track and tracing capabilities are brought in and other countries start opening borders.

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