Government urged to clarify travel corridor plans

Industry leaders are urging the government to clarify its plans for ‘travel corridors’ publicly to help businesses plan to resume operations.

The government has given private assurances that travel will be permitted to and from certain countries from June 29 when the quarantine policy, introduced on Monday, is up for its first review.

Paul Charles, spokesman for the Quash Quarantine group of 500 travel and hospitality businesses confirmed he had received an assurance from a senior government source.

He told Travel Weekly: “It’s my clear understanding travel corridors will begin from June 29 and be announced before that date.”

But an aviation source said: “There has been no official advice [and] we need clarity. There is plenty of engagement taking place, but we need a plan we can all work to.”

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Home secretary Priti Patel pledged to publish the scientific advice behind the quarantine as the 14-day self‑isolation requirements for arrivals came into force on Monday, and said “potential air bridges” form part of “a cross-government response”.

The industry source said: “They have countries lined up [for air corridors]. [But] we need an official announcement that they are going to take this forward.

“It’s no good announcing on June 29 that they are going to open the border the next day. Airlines won’t have schedules in place.

“At the moment, airlines can’t plan their fleets for July. It’s a big job to re-establish an operation. There is an awful amount to do.”

The Foreign Office signalled a relaxation of restrictions is on the way by updating its travel advice on Sunday to say it “currently” advises against all but essential travel. The advice, in place since March 17, had been “indefinite”.

A leisure industry source said “it’s a first step”, but warned: “Sometimes the Foreign Office moves at a different pace [to other departments] just to demonstrate its independence.

“The industry is concerned that airlines will have permission [to fly], but travel organisers will still be subject to advice that means they can’t go.

“If airlines say ‘We’re operating, it’s not our problem’, the costs could be significant even if a mismatch was for a very short time.”

The source added: “Assurances are being given, [but] we’re after more precision.”


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